U2 iTunes album giveaway 'damaging the value of music'

Honestly, I was stoked when U2 released their new CD for free on iTunes. Now it seems all is not happy about it. Digital Spy reports U2's album giveaway on iTunes earlier this month has been criticised by the Entertainment Retailers' Association. The band have made their new album Songs of Innocence available for free to 500 million iTunes users, with a physical edition scheduled for release on 13 October. However, outgoing ERA chairman Paul Quirk has criticised the strategy, saying that music retailers haven't reaped the benefits of U2's comeback. "This vindicates our view that giving away hundreds of millions of albums simply devalues music and runs the risk of alienating the 60% of the population who are not iTunes customers," Quirk told Music Week. "If one of the justifications of this stunt is that it would drive sales of U2's catalogue through the market as a whole, then so far at least, it has been a dismal failure." Figures show that U2 album sales did jump by 868% in the UK in the week following the giveaway, but that only amounted to less than £50,000 at retail prices. "This promotion is a failure on so many levels," Quirk added. "It devalues music, it alienates the majority of the people who don't use iTunes and it disappoints those who prefer to shop in physical stores, since few shops had U2 stock available. "Giving away music like this is as damaging to the value of music as piracy, and those who will suffer most are artists of tomorrow. "U2 have had their career, but if one of the biggest rock bands in the world are prepared to give away their new album for free, how can we really expect the public to spend £10 on an album by a newcomer?" Meanwhile, Bono has revealed that he is currently working on an "irresistibly exciting" new music format with Apple.