U2 is setting a bad precedent

I have been a U2 fan since the 80’s. In many ways they were “my band”. There was no real indie scene at the time….no YouTube, no internet. The Sony Walkman was the cutting edge music technology. You had to find bands like U2, The Alarm, The Dead Kennedys etc… on your own. You would talk to friends or read underground mags and then go to a record store and take a chance with your $7 or $8 on the record. This was how U2 started. They were in the trenches busting ass, and making great music. Only a hand full of us really knew who they were and even fewer owned their records.  They grew their success slowly over the course of several albums. With each new release they honed their craft and expanded their sound.  They were never known for anything that would be considered pandering.  They didn’t try to second guess their audience. They made the music that they loved and as it turned out many of US loved it too. I was happy with their success in the late 80’s, 90’s and beyond.  I was never one of these people who wanted a band to stay small. I was happy for the Police’s success as well as REM’s and Metallica’s success.  Today they  are arguably the biggest band in the world. So …what the hell is this business with the iPhone? Dammit guys…. what the hell are you doing???  You are still the biggest band in the world. This stunt with the new iPhone… and that’s EXACTLY what it is. It’s a stunt… makes you look like amateurs.  There is no reason to force every iPhone user to own your record, and as a band that has and continues to have such major success you send dangerous message to the music business that even the biggest band in the world needs to give away their music for free.  The real kicker is that this isn’t even a sound marketing strategy. All good marketers know that to have a successful product you must narrow your approach to tightly focus on your niche. The idea that all iphone users are potential U2 fans, just waiting to discover their music is HIGHLY DUBIOUS at best.   This isn’t going to garner them one more fan, album sale or ticket sale.   This is something that we might expect from Justin Bieber or Miley Cyrus, NOT from one of the most influential and successful bands of all time.  I suspect that a publicist or or some other marketing “expert” sold this to the boys.  The sad thing is that they are still a great band and this sullies their reputation. They might want to look at the band Rush.  Rush as not only endured for 40 years they have grown and thrived.  There is really no “trick” to it. The formula is pretty simple Stick to making great music. Give the audience your heart and soul and  make every record and every tour awesome.
On the other hand…. 
What if U2 is getting a percentage of the new iPhone sales. I haven’t heard that yet, but if they are, then U2 is selling the iPhone and not the other way around?  If that is the case, and I do not know that it is… then U2 may not only be the biggest band in the world but they may be some of the best business people as well. But this is pure speculation. I would think that they MUST be getting something out of this. U2 is one of the biggest (most expensive) tours out there. Is Apple paying for their tour?  This seems to make more sense… but more info is needed.
We could go on and on here… but Sharon Osbourne makes some good points here.  So we will close today’s post with and insiders point of view…

You’re playing that wrong!

Alright…. there are a hand full of tracks out there that guitarists have disagreed about how to play for YEARS!  I remember when Guitar Player magazine started printing transcriptions of guitar solos in the 1980’s. Invariably, people would would write in disagreeing with the transcription. Usually this was over a fast passage and was often confined to a line or two. But there were guitarists who would get down right nasty about the transcription being “wrong”… as if they were some how ripped of by the magazine or something.  To keep the peace Guitar Player would print these corrections or “alternate versions” and order and peace were once again restored in the world of guitar playing.
Guitarists can be down right anal about fingering, chord positions, and even a  tiny variation of a riff will almost always provoke a “That’s Wrong!” from some one with entirely too much time on their hands. Guitarists are also very anal about their tone and claim to hear minute differences in eq curves, over drive character and reverb depth that no one else can. They throw around terms like, “chime” and “glass” and  talk about emphasizing “even order harmonics” .  I’ve been playing for 30 years or so and I have known many guitarists and I assure you that these terms are so arbitrary as to render them completely meaningless.
Will all of these anal retentive guitar players roaming the planet , you can imagine the extreme relief when the mystery of the opening chord for Hard Days Night was FINALLY solved.  This one chord has provoked more arguments, caused more band brake-ups and sent more fists flying at more rehearsals than any other guitar riff or solo in the history of the instrument.  Thanks to Randy Bachman of Bachman Turner Overdrive fame (yes… they put one of those meaningless guitar terms in their name.) who was granted access to the Beatles master tracks, we call all sleep a little better tonight.  The chord is actually two separate chords played on two different guitars by two different guitarists and one of those guitars is a twelve string. These guitars in combination with the bass note…played on a bass guitar create the magic that is the “chord heard round world.”   The six string guitar (played by John Lennon) is playing a D chord with a G note added on the first string. The twelve string guitar (Played by George Harrison) is playing a form of an F chord with and added G  on the sixth string and a G on the first string.  The bass guitar (played by Paul McCartney) is playing a D note.  Put it all together and you have music magic!
Here Randy Bachman tells the complete story of how he got to hear the master tracks and demonstrates what he learned.

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