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Old 12-08-2004, 09:38 PM   #1
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U2 Aren't Complete Sellouts...But Maybe Just A Little Bit

I hate to say that U2 have sold out. I really don't like the term 'sell out', and I rarely use it with anyone, let alone U2. And they haven't completely sold out. But maybe just a little bit. U2 are both a band a business, every band is. But I've never known U2 to sacrifice anything having to do with the Band for the Business, until recently.

Let's go back to 1997. All over the place there were promo posters for the Popmart tour. Now, we all know how U2 has always shunned the idea of corporate sponsorship for their tours. And we all know how on some of these Popmart promo posters, in the top right corner, it said "ZooTV Presents:" and then the huge Popmart logo. That was a borderline-genius mockery of corperate sponsership. That was the epitomy of what U2 were in the 90s. They were avant-garde. They were edgy. They were cynical, ironic. They didn't give a flying **** what anyone thought. They just made exactly the music they wanted to make. And that music was sheer brilliance.

And now...? It's like, ever since the Popmart tour ended and the Best of 1980-1990 was released, U2 have been caring more and more about the Business. Now, you can come up with all sorts of theories: "They got scared off by the relatively disappointing sales of 'Pop' and started making mainstream music again to make sure they still sell records," or "They are making mainstream records in order to stay on top and surpass the Beatles/Stones for the official biggest Band of all time". But what it comes down to is U2 HAVE been conciously making safer, more mainstream records this decade, and there's got to be a reason. And I don't think it's just musical growth. My reason? From their start up through 'Pop', no matter how many times they changed their sound, it felt like the music was evolving. With ATYCLB and now HTDAAB, it feels like there's no more evolution, it's a standstill.

Now, I'm not saying I don't like these records. I like them a lot, hell, I LOVE HTDAAB, I think it's a great record. But it's not evolutionary and it's not brilliant. It's just a great rock record by a great Band. But honestly, 7-10 years ago, do you really think U2 would have put their face on an IPod(if IPods had been around)? I don't.

U2 are still making really great rock music, but it's not going anywhere anymore, because for the first time in their career, the Band and the Business are on equal ground. Business hasn't taken over yet, but I can't say it never will. Like I said, I love this record, but U2 are slowly but surely becoming what they were mocking in the title track of Zooropa.

Zooropa... better by design
Zooropa... fly the friendly skies
Through appliance of science
We've got that ring of confidence....
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Old 12-08-2004, 09:45 PM   #2
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Actually, a lot of people I know, many very longtime fans, feel very much the same way (well, except for the loving the most recent album part ).
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Old 12-08-2004, 09:51 PM   #3
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What's the point of being a professional musician if you're not going to make money? ...methinks.
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Old 12-08-2004, 09:52 PM   #4
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Are you kidding me? The point is to make music.
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Old 12-08-2004, 09:58 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by namkcuR
Are you kidding me? The point is to make music.
The point is to make a profit. Without a profit, you can't do anything in today's world.
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Old 12-08-2004, 10:05 PM   #6
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Vh-1 sponsored/presented popmart.
(its on my ticket fer crying out loud)

Dito for the last tour.

Larry did a harley ad in the 80's etc.

U2 played the superbowl.

On and on and on...

understand many of you feel off about this. But think on these:

thanks to tech moving forward anyone can now download their whole catalog for 150.00 That's .33 a song. That is NOT selling out. That's making it cheaper than ever before to get the bands tunes.
(of course the complainers have spun this into a somehow evil deed too...)

You don't want 350.00 ipod? Neither do I. Same for a 450.00 signed poster, a 30.00 dollar tour program, or whatever else the band has offered me over the years. It's a U2 ipod, nothing else. Don't stress over it.

U2 and Apple did not trade a penny. They went on record and said it. U2 gets max exposure that they could NEVER do themselves, and Apple gets a cool way to tell the public they have the best online music store in the biz. Yes, A MUSIC store. Not fries, not cars, not paper towels. It's a perfect move by the band. It's the same as "get the new U2 album at your nearest record store!" except no one would bat an eye if they saw that...

Trust me, in 5 years all the kids will think apple is a record store the way you and I remember going down to the corner to pick up an album, tape, cd. Time marchs on, and U2 went with it. They might have been able to sell like this some other way, but this way is forward thinking. (ugh, I hate that term) One way they most certainly would NOT have been as successful with is the single sales. Physical single sales are dead. Nearly gone, ka-put in the USA. A physical CD single is hot stuff if it can sell 10,000 in a week. Vertigo sold 37,000 on I-tunes it's first seven days. That's incredible. All this band is doing is switching from the outdated model (which is the physical) to the up and coming one. They were brilliant to be the first mega rock band to do it.
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Old 12-08-2004, 10:05 PM   #7
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I hate that sentiment. But that's besides the point.

U2 are set for life. Period. They could have stopped working altogether ten years ago and been set for life. They don't need anymore profit. They've had enough money to do whatever they want for a long time. Profit is no excuse/explanation for putting their faces on IPod, and more importantly, charging lifelong fans $40 to be a full member of u2.com.
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Old 12-08-2004, 10:08 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by tkramer
Vh-1 sponsored/presented popmart.
(its on my ticket fer crying out loud)

Dito for the last tour.

Larry did a harley ad in the 80's etc.

U2 played the superbowl.

On and on and on...

understand many of you feel off about this. But think on these:

thanks to tech moving forward anyone can now download their whole catalog for 150.00 That's .33 a song. That is NOT selling out. That's making it cheaper than ever before to get the bands tunes.
(of course the complainers have spun this into a somehow evil deed too...)

You don't want 350.00 ipod? Neither do I. Same for a 450.00 signed poster, a 30.00 dollar tour program, or whatever else the band has offered me over the years. It's a U2 ipod, nothing else. Don't stress over it.

U2 and Apple did not trade a penny. They went on record and said it. U2 gets max exposure that they could NEVER do themselves, and Apple gets a cool way to tell the public they have the best online music store in the biz. Yes, A MUSIC store. Not fries, not cars, not paper towels. It's a perfect move by the band. It's the same as "get the new U2 album at your nearest record store!" except no one would bat an eye if they saw that...

Trust me, in 5 years all the kids will think apple is a record store the way you and I remember going down to the corner to pick up an album, tape, cd. Time marchs on, and U2 went with it. They might have been able to sell like this some other way, but this way is forward thinking. (ugh, I hate that term) One way they most certainly would NOT have been as successful with is the single sales. Physical single sales are dead. Nearly gone, ka-put in the USA. A physical CD single is hot stuff if it can sell 10,000 in a week. Vertigo sold 37,000 on I-tunes it's first seven days. That's incredible. All this band is doing is switching from the outdated model (which is the physical) to the up and coming one. They were brilliant to be the first mega rock band to do it.
I don't mind the ITunes thing, that's fine, and I agree that they did to progress the technology. That's great. The U2 IPod itself is what irks me, but I won't get into it.

The thing that's got me the most upset right now is the $40 fee for U2.com. More than anything else, that's what's got me right now.
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Old 12-08-2004, 10:09 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by namkcuR
Are you kidding me? The point is to make music.
key word: professional

profession means that you live and get your income from that.
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Old 12-08-2004, 10:11 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by BrownEyedBoy


key word: professional

profession means that you live and get your income from that.
This is U2. They have been set for life for 10-15 years. They could never make another cent and they'd be set for life. They don't NEED to do anything for profit at this point. They've had enough money to do whatever they want for a long time.
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Old 12-08-2004, 10:12 PM   #11
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I'm not too bothered by them "selling-out", it's the business. However, I've always been a die-hard and in some ways a selfish fan. By selfish I mean, there is no middle-of-the-road fan to me. They have to evoke some positive energy in you through all the tracks on an album, certainly not just the singles. It's not that I don't appreciate reckless U2 fans, I've just always felt that if you invest in an album it would be best to invest in some of the bands passion too. To me it doesn't particularly matter which genre of U2 is the best/worst, or if they've gone corporate or not. Consider me a U2 drone, I adapt.
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Old 12-08-2004, 10:13 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by namkcuR
I hate that sentiment. But that's besides the point.

U2 are set for life. Period. They could have stopped working altogether ten years ago and been set for life. They don't need anymore profit. They've had enough money to do whatever they want for a long time. Profit is no excuse/explanation for putting their faces on IPod, and more importantly, charging lifelong fans $40 to be a full member of u2.com.
OK, so you want U2 to pay out of their own back pocket to play to you?

Releasing music and touring is about making a profit, whether you're U2 in 1983 trying to gain exposure or U2 in 2004, looking to continue their relevance and longevity. They do this to PROFIT. If you want to criticise them for this, put yourself in their position. Would you go tour to lose money? Of course you wouldn't. Don't be daft. You'd go out there to make a profit.
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Ian McCulloch the U2 fan:
"Who buys U2 records anyway? It's just music for plumbers and bricklayers. Bono, what a slob. You'd think with all that climbing about he does, he'd look real fit and that. But he's real fat, y'know. Reminds me of a soddin' mountain goat."
"And as for Bono, he needs a colostomy bag for his mouth."

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Old 12-08-2004, 10:16 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by namkcuR
They've had enough money to do whatever they want for a long time.
They're doing what they want - releasing music and touring. No-one does this at a loss.
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"Mediocrity is never so dangerous as when it is dressed up as sincerity." - Søren Kierkegaard

Ian McCulloch the U2 fan:
"Who buys U2 records anyway? It's just music for plumbers and bricklayers. Bono, what a slob. You'd think with all that climbing about he does, he'd look real fit and that. But he's real fat, y'know. Reminds me of a soddin' mountain goat."
"And as for Bono, he needs a colostomy bag for his mouth."

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Old 12-08-2004, 10:18 PM   #14
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Let me rephrase that. They've had enough money to be able to make the music they want to make without worrying if it's going to be a 10x platinum seller for a long time.
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Old 12-08-2004, 10:20 PM   #15
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i never saw what the problem was with wanting to make a lot of money, shit i know i do

as long as their passion for their music stays intact, who cares??
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Old 12-08-2004, 10:23 PM   #16
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Anything I could say would amount can be summarized with this

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Old 12-08-2004, 10:30 PM   #17
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that being said, I dont like the i-tunes commercial or the i-pod commercial and don't like their music on the O.C. But even though I'd rather see them not do it, if people want to buy "the complete u2", good for them. I just won't.
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Old 12-08-2004, 10:31 PM   #18
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If you dont like paying the ticket prices dont go if you dont want to join U2.com dont join it, everything in this world costs money including music. U2 unlike Radiohead have been honest with people and told them who puts food on the table.

You pay a lot more to sit in the same seat at a sporting event then you do at a U2 concert. You pay a lot more for a pair of shoes then you do for a membership at u2.com....40 dollars isnt much at all thats like a few hours work every year.

Nothing wrong with selling yourself to let more people be exposed to your music because unfortunatly stations like MTV dont play bands that are over 30 in general so I dont blame U2 for doing what they are doing.

The one thing that I think will make U2 retire in the end whenever that will be is that they will be tired of all the bitching of the so called "hardcore" fanbase.

Everybody has a choice and if you dont like the price of something dont buy it...do we all want things cheeper sure we do but they certainly dont come free nor should they.

If U2 wants to do an IPOD commercial go ahead, after all it is a musical device that is revolutionary to how music is sold these days.
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Old 12-08-2004, 10:40 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by RademR
i never saw what the problem was with wanting to make a lot of money, shit i know i do

as long as their passion for their music stays intact, who cares??
Agreed . From what I've seen of them on TV and stuff, I can't picture them being these insanely greedy types of people. Yes, they like to make money, but they also love making the music, too-that's pretty obvious. I'm not too worried.

Besides that, I really do not like the term "sell-out", and that goes for any band, not just U2.

Angela
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Old 12-08-2004, 10:47 PM   #20
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I think U2 makes music they know (or strongly believe) will sell very, very well. And I think that is their goal. I believe that it has always been U2's goal to be extremely successful, and they have been and still are. I don't think the music, for the music alone, ever came absolutely first...I think it has always been a case of what they thought would play well to their audience (whatever it was/is at the time). I think it's just become more obvious now, as it is moving into more uncharted territory, but it's always been there. I don't think it makes them horrible people, but it feels increasingly weird and uncomfortable for me, as I feel it's a bit too calculating for me.

And I don't, by any means, believe that musicians should starve for their art, but I like many bands/individual musicians who do not really care if the music they make sells to a lot of people, as long as they make enough to pay the bills and keep making music. They are willing to fill a niche instead of appeal to everyone. I think U2 wants to appeal to everyone.
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