U2 and Apple working on “new music format”
U2 frontman Bono claims the band is working with Apple on a “new interactive format for music” that will make paying for music “irresistible”.
Even when giving their latest album away for free to iTunes users, U2 have managed to annoy vast numbers of Apple customers, forcing Apple to release a special tool that rids customers’ devices of Songs of Innocence.
Seemingly unperturbed, Bono has told Time magazine that Apple and his band have been working on the new format, which he believes will tempt fans away from pirating music.
The new “format” seems unlikely to be a replacement for MP3, AAC or FLAC. Indeed, subsequent reports suggest the use of the word ‘format’ was misleading. “It’s not a new format, but rather a new way to package and present an album,” a source with knowledge of the plans told Billboard magazine. “This is focused on creative advances, versus shifts in technology.”
Apple has already made some rather half-hearted attempts to enhance music albums with extra content, including video and interactive sleeve notes. The current top-selling album on iTunes is a “Deluxe Version” of Chris Brown’s X, which includes a “digital booklet” that is only available to buyers of the entire album.
Bono says the aim of the new format is to drive money back into the hands of songwriters, who cannot replace lost revenue from declining music sales with alternative sources of income, such as tours or merchandise. “Songwriters aren’t touring people,” says Bono. “Cole Porter wouldn’t have sold T-shirts. Cole Porter wasn’t coming to a stadium near you.”
Apple, as ever, has declined to comment on future technology plans.