UPDATE: Details Emerge Of U2 and Apple’s New Digital Music Format

image from timedotcom.files.wordpress.comUpdate Friday 9/19: More details are starting to emerge regarding the new digital music format that U2 is working on with Apple. The project which Bono says would  assure that songwriters and artists get paid for creating music is about 18 months away from launch.  "I think it’s going to get very exciting for the music business," Bono tells Time, "[it's] an audiovisual interactive format for music that can’t be pirated and will bring back album artwork in the most powerful way, where you can play with the lyrics and get behind the songs when you’re sitting on the subway with your iPad or on these big flat screens. You can see photography like you’ve never seen it before."

Time's Catherine Mayer spent the last week with the band, including travelling to Cupertino for their Apple album giveaway and performance. But, as she learned, that's just the start of what U2 and Apple have planned.

U2 makes millions from live performances. But that's not true for all artists, particularly those just starting out. Bono told Time

“Songwriters aren’t touring people. 

Cole Porter wouldn’t have sold T-shirts. Cole Porter wasn’t coming to a stadium near you."

More details were scarce, but Bono told Mayer that the band hopes their new digital music format "will prove so irresistibly exciting to music fans that it will tempt them again into buying music – whole albums as well as individual tracks."

Share on:


  1. It probably is a music format that integrates block chain technology into it. (Think BitCoin http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bitcoin ) and to play it you would need to use a player that checks it against the centralized database to make sure you own it.
    Block chain is powerful because every transaction (to buy, transfer, etc) is written into a centralized ledger (think database) and distributed to the entire worldwide network every 10 min. Every persons transactions are hard coded into all transactions that follow (like a chain).. its like a gigantic public distributed database of transactions and ownership which the public can’t read.. but the software can check against. This technology and the distributed network with updates to the entire system every 10 minutes makes the system somewhat impossible to hack. This prevents duplicating, unauthorized transfers, etc… Im guessing Apple and U2 are pretty savvy and creating something with that as a foundation… since that seems to be the only form of transaction these days that would be pirate proof.

  2. Ron: Interesting, however it would then seem (yet again) that people who actually pay, gets an inferior product that needs to rely on internet-access and so on. And pirates (yet again) just get something that will just work… And personally I dont think most mainstream music-listeners want anything beside easy and simple access to music.

  3. And on top of that, I work at a label and I see very “odd” reporting of sales and streaming. Things that don’t make sense at all. So as far as ensuring artists and songwriters get paid, I’m skeptical. Especially when you add Apple to the mixture.

  4. A-J Charron: the issue is the not pay pr stream but how many labels see this income. The royalty should be the same as a download or CD sale, but many labels count this as some other kind of income which result in lesser money for the artist. Spotify pays the same percentage as iTunes. So it artists should complain about Spotify, so should they do about iTunes.

  5. As somebody said: If you can hear it, you can steal it.
    But a new copy-protected, interactive format that only plays back on special hardware could be the answer.

  6. @ asdfasdfasdf: If so it could never be a “industry changing” format, It would at best be a viable nicheproduct.

Comments are closed.