Great rock ‘n’ roll swindle is like Moonfleet all over again

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Last Tuesday morning I opened the fridge to find a pot of yoghurt in it that hadn’t been there the day before.

I’m not a huge fan of yoghurt. I’d have the odd pot now and again but it wouldn’t bother me if I never ate another spoonful of yoghurt as long as I live.

Last Tuesday afternoon I arrived back at my desk after lunch to find a copy of the Ulster Tatler that hadn’t been there that morning.

I’m not a huge fan of the Ulster Tatler. I’d leaf through a copy now and again but it wouldn’t bother me if I never read another edition of the Ulster Tatler as long as I live.

Last Tuesday night I logged onto my computer and opened up iTunes to find the new album by U2 that hadn’t been there the day before.

If given the choice I’d opt for a pot of yoghurt or the Ulster Tatler ahead of a post-1991 U2 album.

And therein lies the problem. I wasn’t given a choice.

It reminded me of being in English class in secondary school when the teacher announced what book the class would be studying that term. Any mention of Moonfleet is enough to send shivers down the spine of anyone who went to Lurgan Boys Junior High.

I have no problem with U2 sharing their album for free. My issue is that it ended up in my iTunes library whether I liked it or not.

Imagine you subscribed to Sky and they sent you a box that had been set up to series link Coronation Street or you bought a book case which came stocked with a dozen Lee Child books.

Generosity is not to be confused with having something forced upon you.

Some people complain about preachers who take to the street to deliver their gospel in manic fashion. They say these prophets are ramming their beliefs down people’s throats. Just as not everyone who is religious follows the same religion, not everyone who listens to music is a fan of U2. Incidentally, I’ve a lot more time for the Manic Street Preachers.

Perhaps I’m being unfair to put all the blame on U2 for this most corporate of rock stunts. The announcement that U2 were releasing their new album for free came as Apple unveiled its latest iPhone and new smartwatch. I have no doubt that Apple, as well as being the facilitators of this great rock ‘n’ roll swindle, are also the instigators.

It’s fair to say the album has been spread like a virus considering it arrived on PCs without consent. Normally when you find a file or folder on your computer that isn’t meant to be there you run the security scan and obliterate it. Instead millions of people around the world with iTunes accounts, upon finding their music library had been hacked into and modified to include Songs Of Innocence, chose to allow this ‘squatter’ to set up home permanently.

While U2 and Apple’s violation of my PC makes me sick to the pit of my stomach, I can also sympathise with the multi-national giants of mainstream rock and technology.

Once upon a time I tried to share my music with the masses. I say the masses, but it was basically just the people in the street where I lived during my university days.

Rather ungratefully the people in the street did not appreciate me letting them hear my new Marilyn Manson album at midnight on the day of its release.

I’d only reached track five when men in uniform arrived at the door threatening me with a caution if I didn’t turn the music down.