U2’s new album is showing up on your iPhone whether you want it or not

By Andrew Cunningham

U2’s new Songs of Innocence.

I’m not here to tell you what music you should be listening to, but I can tell you I haven’t really liked an album that U2 has put out since 1991’s Achtung Baby. That’s why I wasn’t really excited when Tim Cook and Bono told me I could download the band’s new album, Songs of Innocence, for free on iTunes as part of Apple’s big product event yesterday. Thanks but no thanks, fellas.

I forgot that the album release even happened within an hour of leaving the Flint Center yesterday, which is why I was surprised to see it show up in my iTunes library all by itself today. I had assumed the album would be something you’d need to opt into by default, but apparently in its quest to be part of the “biggest album release in history,” Apple went ahead and attached it to iTunes accounts by default. It has begun to show up in iTunes libraries automatically, and if you have automatic music downloads enabled on your iPhone it may have even downloaded without you realizing it.


People don’t tend to like it when their digital media libraries are altered without their consent. Just look at the time when Disney pulled purchased movies from customers’ libraries this past holiday season, or the time Amazon deleted copies of George Orwell’s 1984 from customers’ Kindles. This U2 thing, while adding to your media library rather than subtracting from it, has already caused a minor rash of Twitter complaints nonetheless (just search “iPhone U2“).

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