Apple Pays Dearly for U2’s Free Music By David Deal (@davidjdeal)


Photo credit: Marcio Jose Sanchez, AP

Let’s get something straight: U2 did not give away its new album, Songs of Innocence. To be sure, if you have iTunes, on September 9 you received a free copy (without asking for it) of Songs of Innocence. But Apple paid U2 an undisclosed amount to distribute copies of U2’s album to as many as 500 million iTunes subscribers — a deal announced on September 9 as part of Apple’s roll-out of the iPhone 6 and Apple Watch. Now, let’s do some math: in 2013, Samsung paid Jay Z $5 million to distribute 1 million copies of Magna Carta Holy Grail. Consider the lucrative sum U2 must be scoring ($30 million according to one estimate). And ponder, if you will, the $100 million marketing campaign the band is getting courtesy of Apple. These old rockers from Ireland have found a way to make a killing off a dying art form.

The distribution deal has created some backlash for both Apple and U2. For instance, music blogger Bob Lefsetz wondered why U2 would choose iTunes as its distribution platform, when more popular (e.g., YouTube) and hip (e.g., Spotify) distribution platforms are available. “They’d have been better off releasing it on YouTube, that’s where the digital generation goes for music,” he wrote. “iTunes is a backwater. It may be the number one sales outlet, but it’s not the number one music platform, not even close.” Plus, the approach of a forced distribution of content on to 500 million iTunes accounts is being viewed by many as obtrusive.


Photo credit: Peter Neill

On the other hand, what is a rock group supposed to do in order to make money off its music in the digital age? Album sales have reached an all-time low. Getting noticed for your art is harder than ever at a time when music is just background noise for our digital games, advertisements, and movies. Musicians are not making money off streaming services, and YouTube is hardly a sure bet to monetize music. No wonder Kiss frontman Gene Simmons recently declared that “rock is finally dead.”

Yes, dropping content into our iTunes account without our permission is a controversial move. But the approach is fresh and new, and the old ways are not working anymore in the music industry. The relationship with Apple has given U2 two precious assets: money and attention. By participating in the most important and high-profile day in Tim Cook’s history as Apple’s CEO, U2 has turned an album launch into a global event. Tell me: who else can do that? The $100 million marketing campaign will keep the album in the public eye in the run-up to Universal’s official release of Songs of Innocence October 13 — and, more importantly, will serve as advance notice for the inevitable tour.

And you can be sure a tour is coming. Because that’s why albums still matter: as a launching pad for other revenue streams, such as tours and merchandising deals. U2’s last tour raked in $736 million from 2009-2011. U2 just primed the pump for what comes next.

Big Sean (@BigSean) – Paradise / I Dont Fuck With You / Jit/Juke / 4th Quarter

Big Sean - Paradise / I Dont Fuck With You (Ft E-40) / Jit/Juke / 4th Quarter

Big Sean decides to celebrate by taking us back to the G.O.O.D. Friday days by unleashing 4 new records. The first record is called Paradise produced by Mike Will Made It, seconrd is I Dont Fuck With You featuring E-40 produced by DJ Mustard, third is Kanye West and DJ Dahi Jit/Juke produced by Nate Fox, Da Internz and L&F, and last is 4th Quarter produced by Key Wane.

Hawks GM Danny Ferry takes leave of absence

Danny Ferry, Hawks President of Basketball Operations and GM

Atlanta Hawks general manager Danny Ferry has taken a leave of absence in the wake of racial comments made in a conference call with team owners in regards to veteran forward Luol Deng.

“This afternoon, Danny Ferry requested, and I have approved, taking an indefinite leave of absence, effective immediately,” Hawks CEO Steve Koonin said in a statement Friday.

Koonin has resisted calls that Ferry be fired but says, “It is my hope that this time away from the Hawks organization allows him the privacy he needs to listen to the community, to learn about his mistakes, and to begin the long process of personal healing.”

Head coach Mike Budenholzer will assume oversight of the basketball operations department during Ferry’s absence.

The GM made inflammatory comments about Deng in a conference call with Hawks owners on June 6, as the team was deciding whether to pursue the free agent. Ferry described Deng as someone who “has a little African in him” and could be disruptive in the locker room.

Audio of the call, which was obtained by ESPN’s Darren Rovell and other media outlets, is part of the controversy currently surrounding the team. The call led co-owner Michael Gearon to send a letter to controlling partner Bruce Levenson asking him to fire Ferry or make him resign.

An internal investigation into Ferry’s comments uncovered an unrelated email sent two years ago by Levenson, who theorized that black fans were keeping suburban white fans from attending games.

Levenson said he was embarrassed by what he called an ill-advised attempt to improve the team’s attendance and that he intends to sell his share of the team.

“While the issues related to race are deeply troubling, at the heart of this dispute is an unfortunate disagreement amongst owners,” Koonin continued in the statement. “That said, we have taken several steps to address what we can do as an organization to be better and stronger.”

Among those steps, Koonin said the Hawks would hire a chief diversity officer and continue to meet with community leaders.

Ferry said he was “repeating comments that were gathered from numerous sources during background conversations and scouting different players,” and that he repeated those comments in the call during a discussion of free agents.

Ferry, however, did not say during the call that he was reading from background reports.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver on Wednesday said Ferry should keep his job and said he believed the words Ferry used were not his own. Former NBA great Magic Johnson is among those who have called on Ferry to step down.

Adrian Peterson indicted in child case

Minnesota Vikings star running back Adrian Peterson has been indicted by a Montgomery County, Texas, grand jury on charges of reckless or negligent injury to a child, multiple media reports are reporting.

The charges were confirmed by attorney Rusty Hardin, the reports said.

Peterson practiced Friday with the Vikings, who play host to the Patriots on Sunday.

Last October Peterson’s 2-year-old son died in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, after being allegedly assaulted by a man who was dating the boy’s mother. Peterson learned only two months earlier that he was the boy’s father. The man who assaulted the boy, Joseph Robert Patterson, was charged with murder and manslaughter.

Peterson reflected on his loss in an August interview with Vikings reporter Ben Goessling.

“It’s just made me stop taking things for granted,” said Peterson, who turned 29 in March. “Life is short. You never know. You just want to take advantage of the time you do have.”

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