McG said the band never changed any part of any song because they felt they could get more sales....
Well even if this were true on the band's part (which it's most likely not), what does it matter when the band will change an entire album in order to get for sales for it?
Like I've been saying, I am not sure how aware U2 is when it comes to this line between art and commerce.
"For love or money?" It's still a pretty good question after all this time.
I remember reading an article a long time ago that I'm fairly certain was about U2 or included Bono that discussed the role of data analytics or something computer-related about measurements of song popularity or something to that effect...
Maybe it was related to Guy O'Seary? Anyway, what made an impression on me was that it sounded like some bands these days examine such data as part of the music making process, or at least the business of music making part of the process, and that such information plays as much of a role in decision-making as what the bassist thinks, what the drummer thinks, etc. ...and that maybe it's possible to "design" and "program" a hit...
Check out the PBS documentary Generation Like for a behind the scenes look at how the entertainment industry uses social media. They are able to record and analyze every like, click, share, etc. and apply that information to their campaigns. It's quite eye opening, or at least it was for me.
I could see a band like U2, who always want to be on the cutting edge of things, embracing or at least exploring analytics and all the tools of the digital age, including analytics related to sales and what sells, etc.
But regardless of where they're at now, I think U2 has ALWAYS been about love AND money. They wanted to be the biggest band in the world right from the start and I don't think they ever thought that money was not an important part of that equation.
I recently thought about where I'm at in my career and pay scale and how most of us will never achieve the level of fame and income as someone like U2, which led me to wonder why we spend so much time worshipping people who have so much...funded by us. What triggered these thoughts? Opening to a random page in Brian Eno's diary and reading his description of a night out with Bono at a casino in Monaco around the time Passengers was being made.
Eno simultaneously commented critically about the shallowness of the scene and everyone there while describing the thousands of dollars he and Bono gambled. I'm making more money than I did when Passengers came out and working a job I love doing, but the thought of throwing away a hundred bucks at a casino, for me, would have to be weighed heavily against paying bills.
These guys exist...and have existed for a long time...in a reality alien to the one most of us live our lives in... If I knew that something I decided to do or not do might benefit me to the tune of X millions of dollars, I'd probably be pretty calculating too. If only.