Bono-crowdThe kind of mainstream music acts who appear at the end of Apple events are always contemptible, never anybody I’d personally have in the house. The list includes Coldplay, Tony Bennett, Randy Newman, Jack Johnson and Norah Jones.

U2 have now been added to the list. This particular tax haven rock band have form when it comes to highly irritating and intrusive marketing tactics. They have no shame. Back when they took over the BBC for a weekend, there were many complaints that a public service broadcaster should not be lending itself to the commercial promotion of an album.

This latest tactic is the most intrusive yet. Some people have reacted rather sniffily to the anger which many iTunes customers expressed when an unwanted U2 album turned up in their iTunes. Peter Cohen at iMore wrote,

If you fall into that camp, let me speak very plainly: I have no sympathy for you. I have trouble thinking of a more self-indulgent, “first world problem” than saying “I hate this free new album I’ve been given.”

Dismissing such complaints as ‘first world problems’ is like your parents telling you to eat the over-boiled cabbage because ‘people in Africa are starving’. It’s an easy way to dismiss what are genuine concerns about the way a powerful corporation used its power to push unwanted content at its customers. If you know me, you know I love Apple, but this was intrusive, and an unacceptable violation. It’s no more acceptable than the NSA/GCHQ reading your emails, or some shitbird scammer infecting your hard drive with malware.

For some of us, you see, U2 is exactly as bad as fucking malware. Years ago, Sony got into hot water by having their audio CDs install a root kit on the hard drives of people who ripped purchased CDs for portable listening. The software was designed to prevent illegal copying, and was included on millions of CDs. The problem was, Sony didn’t ask, and gained access to parts of users’ systems that they had no business in.

The U2 album is software that was installed on millions of computers without permission.

As to the band themselves, they clearly resort to such tactics because they’re irrelevant and know it. If they can persuade some ignoramus at the BBC to sign off on a massive publicity beano, they’re laughing. Nobody else is going to give them the time of day. Except, oh, Apple. Apple, give or take the latest versions of iMovie, make brilliant technology and software. But they’ve got a tin ear when it comes to music. They go safe, they go mainstream.

But here’s the thing about ‘mainstream’ in 2014. Mainstream music still exists, but the people who don’t like it now have a platform to complain. And they will, as is their right, complain. It’s not a ‘first world problem’. It’s a fundamental human right to say, loud and clear, I fucking hate U2 so much that when you put them on my hard drive without asking me, it felt like a personal insult and a violation of my privacy. Also, there’s something wrong with anyone who doesn’t hate Bono.

So fuck off with that.

By the way, I do not have automatic downloads switched on for anything. It’s the only way to be sure.

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