Author Topic: U2 failure to understand technology a problem  (Read 7551 times)

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Offline emuhunter

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Re: U2 failure to understand technology a problem
« Reply #15 on: March 13, 2014, 11:07:39 AM »
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The proof is as they say in the pudding.  No one from the U2 camp is denying the validity of the story.

Perhaps because it's still being worked on and they don't in fact want to say it is DEFINITELY coming out yet.

There's a HUUUUUGE difference between "still on track for 2014 but we're working at this point so we don't want to jerk anyone around" and "nope, we're giving up and punting the ball (to use an American football metaphor), better luck in 2015 gang."

Offline emuhunter

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Re: U2 failure to understand technology a problem
« Reply #16 on: March 13, 2014, 11:08:06 AM »
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Fans would never be happy.  "Still working on album", as a tweet, would only cause fans to speculate further.

Some artists are pretty good at social media.  Trent Reznor is one.  But it's funny how all of this rampant speculation only serves to emulate how things used to be before the internet--back when they made the best music of their career.

Non-issue.  What needs to change is fans demanding the band talk to them like they're best friends, giving updates on how they're doing.

Nonsense.  Fans buy albums.  Fans but concert tickets.  Fans identify with artists.  The problem here is that fans don't identify with the band anymore.  Asking fans to change is silly.

Fans not identifying with the band is only a problem if they then don't buy the albums or concert tickets.  We can argue whether or not that's been the case, but I'm guessing 360's massive success is a pretty good argument against that theory being a reality for them.

David Bowie went 10 years without any public statements.  Peter Gabriel has been talking about I/O for practically decades.  The band doesn't owe anyone a statement on what they're doing.  Sure, it can be frustrating if you're a fan and are eager for the next album--but that doesn't entitle them to any kind of update.

Well said Johnny :)

Offline LToy

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Re: U2 failure to understand technology a problem
« Reply #17 on: March 13, 2014, 06:23:42 PM »
I think the bigger problem that affects U2 is they have never figured out how to deal with negative publicity.  U2 has a track record of always reacting to a story once the press has gotten wind of it, rather than being proactive.  Think back to the backlash U2 got from the alternative community when Island Records filed the copyright & trademark infringement lawsuit against Negativland & SST Records, or how U2 handled the backlash when they moved their publishing business from Ireland to Holland to avoid paying higher taxes.  U2 &, more tellingly, their PR Dept have never figured out how to control the narrative that the press writes about.   It seems that whenever these stories were published by the press, U2's standard modus operandi is to react to the story.  Very rarely is U2 able to control the press & control how the narrative is written about them when "news" occurs.

In contrast, someone like Lady Gaga is the perfect example of the tail wagging the dog.  Regardless of what you think of her music or her as an artist, I have a ton of respect for her ability to control the press & manipulate them into writing news stories that have nothing to do with her talent (aside from music critics & fan blogs) and everything to do with her antics, usually off stage.  In this way, she is able to direct the spotlight on her in a way that the press writes stories about her that makes people curious about her music without the stories really being about her music.  I think it speaks volumes that right now with no Gaga album or tour on the radar, there is nothing in the news cycle about what her plans are.  The only thing in the news with Lady Gaga's name attached to it are stories about her charity foundation & some questionable expenditures. 

Meanwhile, in the U2 camp, it's been generally nothing but negative response after another by fans piling on the band due to the perceived lack of progress regarding the as yet unnamed album.  And the worst part is, that this is one of the few times where they were trying to be proactive with various band members talking to different members of the media & it was the band themselves that pulled the plug.  Talk about self-inflicted.

Offline Messenger

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Re: U2 failure to understand technology a problem
« Reply #18 on: March 14, 2014, 04:16:45 PM »
The recents even notwithstanding, I'm pretty sure U2 has had a pretty big sway over how the press portrays them. Their grip might be loosening though.

It isn't a case of them not understanding the technology. They don't feel the need to do so. Bono is already one of the most interviewed people on the planet. And you want him to have more contact with the public? How many different ways can he say "we're working on the album and the process is going favourably"? And would you expect him to say "it's going terribly?" if that was the case?

The comments they've made have been numerous, they just haven't been what people want to hear. Do you want them to update you on every single morsel of progress? I can see it now: Bono tweets "one more song finished!" Two days later "scratch that. more work needs to be done". A million fans reply "wtf!"

I guess instead of two big freak outs (Billboard & Guardian) we could have dozens of minor freak outs. Would that be an improvement?

Fans are currently restless and want (different) answers or an album, some want both. But they will only be happy with one of them (and depending on the quality of the album, possibly neither).

Offline m2

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Re: U2 failure to understand technology a problem
« Reply #19 on: March 14, 2014, 04:24:28 PM »
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all that stuff might be irritating to some people, but it has nothing to do with their job, which is making music.

That's kinda like saying the LA Lakers job is only to play basketball. And they don't have to worry about doing anything to get people to come watch the games.

Or like saying Starbucks only job is to make coffee, and they don't have to provide any customer service communication.

U2's job is making and playing music, and simultaneously cultivating a fan base that will consume its music. In the old days, when cultivating the fan base involved mega PR campaigns via traditional media outlets, U2 were among the best at that part of their job. Today, they're not very good at the new ways of cultivating a fan base (primarily online -- website, video, social media, etc.).

Offline briscoetheque

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Re: U2 failure to understand technology a problem
« Reply #20 on: March 14, 2014, 04:27:48 PM »
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Anonymous spokes people; any of us could claim to be one of those, as some on this forum have claimed to have inside connections in the past.  It's kind of annoying to hear The Guardian use the phrase "spokes person". It sounds pretty unreliable to me.

But, the difference is if WE went to Spin, Rolling Stone, etc claiming to be an anonymous spokesperson there's no way in hell they'd publish what we had to say. That's what people don't seem to get.

Actually I disagree. Not anyone from the forum, but if m2 for example got in touch with supposed 'inside info' I think there's a better than even chance that it could get published under the press favourite "a source close to the band".

Actually we should try that.

Offline Siberian Tiger

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Re: U2 failure to understand technology a problem
« Reply #21 on: March 14, 2014, 11:04:52 PM »
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Anonymous spokes people; any of us could claim to be one of those, as some on this forum have claimed to have inside connections in the past.  It's kind of annoying to hear The Guardian use the phrase "spokes person". It sounds pretty unreliable to me.

But, the difference is if WE went to Spin, Rolling Stone, etc claiming to be an anonymous spokesperson there's no way in hell they'd publish what we had to say. That's what people don't seem to get.

Actually I disagree. Not anyone from the forum, but if m2 for example got in touch with supposed 'inside info' I think there's a better than even chance that it could get published under the press favourite "a source close to the band".

Actually we should try that.

Ok, not anyone in the forum. But there have been many interlopers who claim to do so. They come in for a little while, make their exorbitant claims, then disappear when time proves them to be wrong.

Offline m2

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Re: U2 failure to understand technology a problem
« Reply #22 on: March 14, 2014, 11:08:12 PM »
Sorry, had to remove several posts from a banned account, as well as a couple posts that replied to them.

Offline bondylan

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Re: U2 failure to understand technology a problem
« Reply #23 on: March 14, 2014, 11:12:32 PM »
For the longest time I've been hearing a lot of mouning about how Bono talks to much and blah blah blah ,well maybe the band is sick of all  the whining and are now gonna just let the music do the talking . It worked for Led Zeppelin and others,  they rarely did any press, their just gonna drop the album boom  and you'll either love it of hate it .More than any other band I feel U2 has been kind and gracious to their fans ,we should be patient and wait .

Offline Siberian Tiger

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Re: U2 failure to understand technology a problem
« Reply #24 on: March 14, 2014, 11:40:56 PM »
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For the longest time I've been hearing a lot of mouning about how Bono talks to much and blah blah blah ,well maybe the band is sick of all  the whining and are now gonna just let the music do the talking . It worked for Led Zeppelin and others,  they rarely did any press, their just gonna drop the album boom  and you'll either love it of hate it .More than any other band I feel U2 has been kind and gracious to their fans ,we should be patient and wait .

Well they have been doing a LOT of talking recently, so not sure how your assessment adds up.

Offline feedback

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Re: U2 failure to understand technology a problem
« Reply #25 on: March 14, 2014, 11:45:14 PM »
True. And lot of talk of empty promises at that.

Offline bondylan

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Re: U2 failure to understand technology a problem
« Reply #26 on: March 14, 2014, 11:47:40 PM »
Seems to me they clammed up after the billboard article.

Offline MyMindCanWander

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Re: U2 failure to understand technology a problem
« Reply #27 on: March 15, 2014, 02:32:56 AM »
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all that stuff might be irritating to some people, but it has nothing to do with their job, which is making music.

That's kinda like saying the LA Lakers job is only to play basketball. And they don't have to worry about doing anything to get people to come watch the games....U2's job is making and playing music, and simultaneously cultivating a fan base that will consume its music. In the old days, when cultivating the fan base involved mega PR campaigns via traditional media outlets, U2 were among the best at that part of their job. Today, they're not very good at the new ways of cultivating a fan base (primarily online -- website, video, social media, etc.).

I don't entirely agree with that analogy.  It depends upon what you mean by the term the LA Lakers (forgive me, I'm British, and I'm only familiar with US football, so I'll refer to this generically as a sports team,  if I may) and U2.

I'd say that the job of the members of the sports team is primarily to maintain their fitness, learn their role in the team, and play the sport effectively, doing their utmost to win.  If the players do all that, they don't have to worry about doing anything to get people to come and watch the games, because the fans will be there.  And other professionals employed by the organisation can worry about things such as ticket pricing, merchandise, seat design and whatever else is important to improve the fans' experience.

And so it should be with U2, I would have thought.  Let them write and perform the music, and let the rest of the organisation handle the media.  I tend to agree with Imaginary Friend on that.

Yes, I think it is possible to argue that the U2 organisation has not coped as well as it might with the latest media storm.  But I'm prepared to respond positively to a spokesperson's statement and wait for the album.

And yes, sports teams do occasionally require their players to do more than just play: to appear at events, and to respond to interviews etc.  However, in the UK, I'd have to say that I'd much rather watch footballers playing the game and exhibiting their skill, rather than hearing them talk about the game.  Of course, there are some very eloquent footballers but I think the usual fare is at worst, tongue-tied and inane comments, or at best, vapid and trite.  And in the US, was there not a minor storm of derision poured on the head of Marshawn Lynch in the lead up to the Superbowl?  He's clearly not at ease with the media, but had to appear for an hour, so he stood about not saying very much.  What an incredible waste of everyone's time.  I think the modern obsession with media coverage is putting the cart before the horse.  I'd much rather watch Lynch playing football than being made to try to talk about it.

And to respond to the main point: I think the modern technology is more of a problem, in itself.  Looking at Twitter for example, I can think of more problems it's caused in a sporting field: various players have been tripped up by it and disciplined as a result.  Even Rio Ferdinand who, I think, was the first proficient user of it over here, was derided and described as a "professional tweeter" because he seemed to be doing rather more of that than actually playing, as age and injury were catching up with him at one point.

Yes, OK, I guess the new ways m2 mentions of cultivating a fan base are important.  But still less important that what, I hope, are the most important ways of doing it: writing and performing music.

Offline connemarawithin

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Re: U2 failure to understand technology a problem
« Reply #28 on: March 15, 2014, 10:42:58 AM »
This is not only a problem caused by ignorance (intentional or otherwise) of social media. It's also a problem largely of U2's direct making. The articles in Billboard and the Guardian became a problem because not only have U2 been publicly hinting at an imminent album for years (and not just Bono), they also embarked on what, to all intents and purposes, appeared to be a promotional run-up to an album when they did the Super Bowl, Fallon, etc. Sure, it morphed into something different, but to the casual observer (or even to the not so casual observer) it sure looked like the beginnings of the typical U2 promotional campaign. If they would all shut up in the media about the progress on any new music, then I'd be willing to grant them a "Bowie" and agree that their only responsibility is to make music. However, when they bait the bull by constantly talking about new product, and then not delivering, they have to own a share of the blame when the difference between their words and actions causes fallout in the media and their fanbase. Finally, on the subject of technology and U2, in this day and age is anyone above social media, especially individuals or organizations who court media attention? The LA Lakers are an organization built around the talents of a group of individuals and is in the business of making money. Starbucks is a brand concerned less about coffee and more about providing individuals attracted to that brand with a positive and familiar emotional experience. U2 is both an organization built around profit AND a brand dedicated to providing a feel good experience. To say that U2's only responsibility is to produce music willfully ignores the realities of both business and who and what U2 have become and are today. Yes, without coffee or basketball, there would be no Lakers or Starbucks. However, to reduce either organization to its most common denominator does not fully explain their success (or lack thereof) in the marketplace. So too, U2. Their continued ignorance, or misuse, of social media does nothing to help their organization or brand given their recent penchant for courting media attention in what may be perceived as a confusing manner.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2014, 11:25:48 AM by connemarawithin »

Offline MyMindCanWander

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Re: U2 failure to understand technology a problem
« Reply #29 on: March 15, 2014, 11:25:24 AM »
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U2 is both an organization built around profit AND a brand dedicated to providing a feel good experience. To say that U2's only responsibility is to produce music willfully ignores the realities of both business and who and what U2 have become and are today.
Hmm.  I would argue that the only way that U2 creates profit and provides a feel good experience is by producing music.

I still say that is their primary function, and the only one they need to worry about.  And it's precisely the lack of it that's caused the latest storm, in contradistinction to the message implied by recent public statements made by the band members.

I agree that could have been handled better.  But, I place much less weight on any artist's mastery of social media than their skills in their own artistic endeavour.

I think that close attention to the actual product (I wouldn't call it a common denominator, btw) of any business is precisely what explains how successful it is.  It wouldn't matter how glitzy the advertising is, or how comfortable the seats are, or how charming the staff are, if the coffee Starbucks served tasted foul.  Similarly, if a Sports team had the most attractive stadium with the best half-time food, it still wouldn't be well supported if the team played negatively and lost every week.

All of those extras help, of course.  And yes, I can see that many people have been irked by their statements about the supposedly forthcoming album over quite an extended period of time, and now the latest apparent delay.  I don't see, though, how expressing how het up we all are is going to help the situation in any way. 

I still contend that we're in danger of all placing far too much importance in media statements, rather than the music.  I'm prepared to wait for the album.  If it comes, great.  If it doesn't, I'll be saddened.  But how the band talks about it, or not, really makes no difference to me.