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Bono wants to help Apple reach 1 billion iTunes subscribers

U2's Bono on Apple iTunes Music

In an interview with Dave Fanning on Irish radio station 2FM, U2’s Bono revealed that the band wants to help Apple get to 1 billion iTunes subscribers, TUAW reports. Apple currently has 885 million users according to the well-informed musician, who has been in the news quite a bit lately because of the free U2 album download “scandal.”

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“They have 885 million iTunes accounts,” Bono said, “and we’re going to help them get that number to a billion.” He further said that the more iTunes accounts are there, the better the chances are for musicians to make more money.

Apple is yet to confirm the number, but considering the deal with U2, it’s likely Bono has some knowledge of the current state of iTunes.

“[One billion users is] 1/7 of the earth’s population. If 1/10 of those people were to be part of a subscription service like Spotify has, and I’m a huge Spotify fan, at $10 a month… Do the math. That’s a billion a month. That’s $12 billion dollars. That’s bigger than the entire music business coming out of one company. Even if it was 5%, now musicians are suddenly in a game that people are ready to pay for, their lives are changed,” Bono added.

The U2 leader said the outrage following the deal with Apple, which resulted in millions of iOS users discovering U2’s latest album downloaded on their devices rather than just waiting in the cloud, was a “technological blip” that was overblown in the press by “haters.”

“Apple is very sorry about that. They sent people a way to delete it. It’s wonk. I mean, really. Come on,” Bono said.

However, the deal turned out great for U2. The album has already been downloaded 77 million times, putting U2’s Singles album in the top 10 in 14 different countries.

Bono further talked about Apple and U2’s plans to change the way music is played on device, suggesting that, in the future, downloads could include additional artistic elements on top of music files, elements which could further transform a user’s iTunes experience, and even improve Apple’s content portal.

“But to really break this open, why can’t we see what we’re looking at. Why can’t we dip into artwork. like we used to?,” Bono askes. “Why can’t I use my phone or my iPad to disappear into a world created by artists with photography? If we want to listen to Miles Davis in a silent way, why can’t we have the photographs of Herman Leonard playing in the background while we do it? Or, with another click find out what mood he was in when he made that? Or with lyrics, why can’t we read Bob Dylan’s lyrics while we’re listening to his music at a certain point in time?”

Bono did not say when Apple plans to roll out this new music listening experience, but did reveal that he has been working with Apple for a while now, having talked about this idea with Steve Jobs all the way back in 2009, as he criticized the spreadsheet look of the program.

The full transcript is available at the source link.

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he closely follows the events in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises. Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.