The Biggest Mistake Joe Elliott Thinks Bono Made With U2

Def Leppard decided to give away their debut album for free to Classic Rock readers in 1980. However, although some found this move questionable, frontman Joe Elliott seemed pleased with it in 2014 while speaking to Metal Express.

The singer claimed that the free giveaway had helped Def Leppard reach out to a wider audience, which in turn, made them a dominant force in the charts.

So, when the host asked Joe about U2’s then-recent decision to give ‘Songs of Innocence’ to Apple and iTunes users, the rocker compared the situation to Def Leppard’s free CD giveaway in the 80s:

“Most of the big music magazines have been giving CDs away for years and it’s no big deal. The Sunday papers were giving CDs away a while back and artists would be getting paid a royalty on 2 million copies so it’s a great way for artists to make money.  U2 didn’t give Apple their music for free, they actually got an enormous amount of money for it.”

He carried on by praising U2’s ‘phenomenal’ business move but also pointed out ‘the mistake’ the band might’ve made with their decision:

“What U2 have done from a business perspective was phenomenal. They made a record and made 2000% profit the second it came out. I think they made a mistake putting it into people’s accounts automatically though. They should have given it away by inviting you to come and get it. I think U2 have set a precedent that we won’t know whether it’s good or bad for some time to come.”

When ‘Songs of Innocence’ appeared on iTunes users’ libraries, Apple received so much backlash that the software company had to add a special tool to enable users to remove U2’s album from their music library. Even CEO Tim Cook had his regrets and Bono had to issue an apology for ‘forcing’ the album on users without their consent.