Songs of innocence or an invasion of personal space?

By MAZIE BISHOP
Staff Writer

Original article on Niagara News Website and in print!

Try it. You’ll like it! Whether you want it or not.
That seems to be the thinking behind Irish rock band U2’s Sept. 9 iTunes release of their new album, Songs of Innocence.
The difference on this release versus their others is that 500 million iCloud users had no choice in receiving it. That caused the most grief on various social media outlets and a trending tag of the “U2 virus.
Opinions have ranged from positive, in that the move was brilliant on the band’s part from a marketing perspective, to negative as many people feel U2 and iTunes violated their privacy.
Angela Maccaroni, a musician and educator, thinks the promotion was brilliant.
“It’s an ingenious marketing campaign. It is similar to ads under windshield wipers at the supermarket.” Maccaroni agrees this release would be annoying to those who are not interested.
“I suppose you can also compare it to the radio – if you happen to hear U2 and you don’t want to – you can change the station. You don’t get to choose what you hear on the radio either,” said Maccaroni.
Jessica Hendriks, a second-year Child and Youth Worker student, agreed with both sides. “I find it very smart of them to do this. By putting it on everyone’s phone, there’s a good chance people will listen to it and maybe take interest in them. However, I did think it was creepy to randomly find music on my phone that I didn’t download.”
The prevalent concern is that this could open the door for more serious data sharing without consent.
Brandon Friesen, a computer programmer/analyst, explains how U2 and iTunes flirted with legal issues.
“The release of this album is almost infringing on Canada’s new anti-spam legislation, which went into effect in July this year.”
Although iTunes users give these permissions when they accept the terms and conditions, Friesen said he believes this event could be compared to pressing a view or influence on someone, but for commercial gain and that “even if Apple is allowed to do this, is it right to? Probably not, according to the consensus of social media.”
At this point, neither U2 nor iTunes are commenting on the uproar but lead singer Bono published a personal essay entitled Remember Us? in which he mentions that their aim was to let as many people as possible listen to the album.
“For the people out there who have no interest in checking us out, look at it this way… The blood, sweat and tears of some Irish guys are in your junk mail.”

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