Monday, December 27, 2004

U2

This bit from an interview with U2 was interesting:
Q: Speaking of which: U2 in the Apple iPod ad?

Bono: We always say that we are a gang of four but a corporation of five.

Larry: It was a very clear idea. They make products that we like, also they have single-handedly saved the music industry, they have developed the technology to download the music and for it to be paid for. Record companies couldn't do that -- they were faffing around suing people. We are big fans of Apple, we're happy to stand up and say that, "yes, these guys design the best stuff." When it came to the single, "Vertigo," they were going "can we use that song" and we were thinking, we want to get that riff out there. They wanted to make an ad and we told them we would be in it.

Bono: No money changed hands.

Larry: I'm very precious and conservative about the use of U2's music anywhere because I have concerns about the perception of the band. We're not endorsing a product we're embarrassed about -- we use it the iPod, we like it, it's helping us and other musicians to get paid for their wares. Ninety per cent of people will pay for downloads. Apple and Steve Jobs are saving music for the future. It won't be Universal, EMI or Sony running record companies in 10 years' time -- it will be Apple and telephone companies. We don't do advertisements, we did do the Apple campaign.

Bono: We did think about doing a car ad at one stage. We were offered $23 million for one song. Here's a moral hazard for you: we, and I particularly, know what $23 million can buy if you're not going to keep it.

Larry: Yeah, a yacht!

Bono: You can build a lot for $23 million in the countries I've been in. But you either tell people you're giving it away -- then, by our definition, it is no longer charity, in the sense that the right hand shouldn't know what the left hand is doing. Finally, the reason we didn't do it was because it was for "Where the Streets Have No Name." If a U2 show is going askew, as it can, the one song you can rely on to get that room back is "Where the Streets Have No Name," and we didn't want some 16-year-old kids turning to each other and saying "oh great, they're playing the car ad." Now, had it been a different song out of the U2 canon...It's not zealotry that stops us -- in the end we didn't want to embarrass our fans, we didn't want to change the mood in which that song is perceived.

It's not the "in bed with a corporation" usual thing that stops us. We are in bed with many corporations: MTV are a Viacom corporation; Clear Channel -- they play us on the radio; Universal, our label, is a Vivendi corporation. It's not the cash, it's just "don't embarrass us." In my other life as a lobbyist I will be looking for $223 million and I'd prefer to spend my time doing that.
Stuart Buck

4 Comments:

Blogger Tim McNabb said...

A remarkably clear-eyed understanding of the relationship between artists and their patrons. I usually think of Brother Bono as a well-meaning dolt on economics. I shall have to re-think my view.

Tim McNabb
fivehundredwords.com

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