TJ Luoma disagrees with me (excerpts quoted below):
Dan, for someone who started their post with “this analysis is way off the mark” I have to say… your analysis is way off the mark.
No one is angry about receiving a gift.
Actually, they are. They got something for free. That’s a gift. They didn’t want it, and they’re complaining about it. For days. And days. And days.
No, I don’t think that’s accurate. The iTunes Store gives away free music every single day and no one cares. The only difference here is the delivery mechanism, and that difference is the entire reason for the anger. The fact that it was U2 is irrelevant (although it’s possible that if Apple had chosen a more current band fewer people may have been upset).
Imagine waking up to a fruit basket
You mean, imagine a completely different scenario that doesn’t relate to the transfer of digital information onto your portable electronic device?
(This is analysis you consider “on the mark”?)
Yes, it’s an analogy. You want something less abstract? OK, imagine you’re not a U2 fan. You’ve never bought a U2 album. Can’t stand them. You’re out for a jog, you’re listening to your iPod on “shuffle all,” you’re in the groove. Out of nowhere: boom, Bono in your ear. Wouldn’t that be a little annoying? Wouldn’t you have a right to be pissed at whoever screwed with your music collection?
This isn’t a made-up scenario. With iTunes in the Cloud, and with the automatic downloading of purchases introduced in iOS 5, that’s exactly what will happen to anyone who doesn’t jump through hoops to remove the unwanted content (and you couldn’t do this from your phone at all until today).
The content of an iTunes library has been 100% under its owner’s voluntary control ever since iTunes was introduced 13 years ago. That trust had never been broken before, and this ham-fisted promotion was a terrible reason to break it now. I hope nothing similar ever happens again.
It’s in your iTunes library, which a) almost no one is ever going to see, b) you can delete it if you want to, and c) if you don’t want to, you can say “I got that for free.”
Whether anyone else can see it isn’t really the point; that was just an illustration. The important thing is that I and I alone decide what goes in my library — in fact, this is the whole reason I pay for music at all instead of listening to iTunes Radio or Beats or any other streaming service. The value is in the ability to curate it, and in knowing that its contents won’t change at the whim of licensing deals or other factors beyond my control. Undermining that ability and that control is an act of deep disrespect.
Violation was a really unfortunate word choice.
Yeah, I know it has other connotations in the dictionary, but you also know that in the past month we have been talking about civil rights violations and privacy violations, to name just two.
Yes, this does count as a (minor) privacy violation. It’s also a violation of trust and of expectations, and arguably of good taste. I should have been more explicit about what kind of violation I meant, and I apologize for any offense my use of that word by itself may have caused.
This is people afraid that someone might think bad about them because they had a free album in their iTunes library. That’s your strongest argument about why this was bad.
No; if you read carefully, you’ll find that my argument is that Apple should have had the empathy to predict the uproar this decision caused, especially since they had immediately beforehand announced what they called their “most personal” product, with features designed around “intimacy” (their language, not mine). They should have known that a music collection is, to many people, especially young people, also a personal, intimate thing that oughtn’t be trifled with.