Apple, U2 collaborating on secretive new ‘digital music format’

apple u2 plan to bring new format music industry
U2 frontman and songwriter Bono revealed in an interview with Time this week that he and his band are collaborating with Apple on “a new digital music format.” The new format is part of a secretive project aimed at both motivating fans to purchase music again and helping artists receive more appropriate compensation for their music in the Internet radio age.

Bono revealed the strategy to Time in a comprehensive interview focused on the unconventional release and ensuing aftermath of U2’s latest album Songs of Innocence, following a performance of the debut single, “The Miracle (of Joey Ramone):” to close down Apple’s live event in which the company unveiled the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, and the new Apple Watch. Tim Cook joined Bono on stage after the performance to present the gift to iTunes users, for which Apple reportedly paid $100 million.

Time’s interview with Bono seems to have yielded little in regard to what the new format actually is, though the rock star did expand on the motives and goals behind the (so far) ambiguous undertaking. Bono told the magazine that he hopes the new digital music format will prove so irresistible to fans that they will begin purchasing music again, both whole albums and individual tracks. He went on to explain that the new format wouldn’t just be a boon for bands like U2, which are able to earn significant profits from touring and life performances. He claims the format would be particularly helpful to songwriters who focus more on the pen and paper, and less on the road and the stage.

“Songwriters aren’t touring people,” Bono told Time. “Cole Porter wouldn’t have sold T-shirts. Cole Porter wasn’t coming to a stadium near you.”

It’s impossible to tell whether Bono is referring to an actual digital music format, such as an MP3 or WAV file, or a new sale and distribution format for the music itself. The strategy could even be a multi-pronged effort combining both, or incorporating additional ideas. Some have even speculated that the new “format” could include some new form of DRM, or Digital Rights Management, which would prevent users from copying/sharing files with other users — something that falls on anxious ears in the online community.

Apple’s trademark secrecy could indicate that Bono’s interview with Time will be the first and last time we acquire any details pertaining to the project until it’s formally revealed and/or released to the public. As far as we know, the Cupertino-based company might already be admonishing the frontman for his openness with Time. Of course, the revelation could also be merely part of Apple’s overarching publicity plan for the project, disguised as a leak.

Only time will tell what Apple truly plans to do, but we’ll be on the look out for more details and will update this post if and when we find any.


What’s next for in-car entertainment? Audi believes it knows

Audi is bringing two technologies to CES 2019. The first turns a car -- a luxury sedan, in this case -- into a drive-in movie theater. The second is presented as a new entertainment format that turns the journey into the destination.

Here's our head-to-head comparison of Pandora and Spotify

Which music streaming platform is best for you? We pit Spotify versus Pandora, two mighty streaming services with on-demand music and massive catalogs, comparing every facet of the two services to help you decide which is best.

Spotify is the best streaming service, but its competitors aren’t far behind

It can be hard to decide which music streaming service is for you, so we've picked out the individual strengths of the most popular services, aiming to make your decision a little easier.

The best new music this week: Josh Homme, Domo Genesis, and more

Are you looking for the best new music? Each week, we scour the internet to find the most compelling new releases just for you. On tap this week: Josh Homme, Domo Genesis, Eddie Palmieri, and Jacob Collier.
Home Theater

Spotify Wrapped reveals rad facts about your musical tastes and habits

The website may be a bit tough to find at first, but Spotify Wrapped tells you awesome facts about your year in listening. From how many minutes you spent jamming out to your top artists, and beyond, there's a lot to dig into.
Social Media

What do yodeling and Kylie Jenner have in common? YouTube’s top 2018 videos

In a true nod to the variety found on YouTube, the platform's top 10 list of videos from 2018 range from celebrities to sports, from perfectly tossing a picture frame on the wall to a kid yodeling in aisle 12 at Walmart.

Apple Music may sign up more exclusive artists with purchase of Platoon

Apple purchased London-based Platoon, which is a startup that helps independent musicians get discovered by major labels. The acquisition may help Apple Music sign up more exclusive artists.

From Paul McCartney to Mariah Carey, this is the best holiday music

Whether you're a fan of classic jazz standards or modern R&B masterpieces, there's something for everyone on our playlist of the best holiday music. Pour some eggnog and curl up by the fire, this one is sure to get you in the holiday…
Emerging Tech

Feast your eyes on the wildest, most elaborate Rube Goldberg machines ever built

Want to see something totally mesmerizing? Check out several of the best Rube Goldberg machines from across the internet, including one that serves cake and other that do ... nothing particularly useful.

Best Products of 2018

Our reception desk has so many brown boxes stacked up, it looks like a loading dock. We’re on a first-name basis with the UPS guy. We get new dishwashers more frequently than most people get new shoes. What we’re trying to say is: We…

Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ becomes the most-streamed 20th-century song

Queen's iconic Bohemian Rhapsody has become the most-streamed 20th-century song. Knocking Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit off the top spot, the British band's 1975 classic has now been streamed 1.6 billion times globally.

Jam out in style with the 25 best playlists on Spotify

Music is the world's most potent drug, and the best playlists on Spotify will make you catch feelings. We've scoured the service for its top collections, and brought them together in one place -- for you.

From Jay Rock to Saba, these are the 50 best albums of 2018

We've spent the year listening to new albums, digging deep, and culling our master list into 50 favorites. From blockbuster releases to hidden gems, these are the best albums of 2018.

Tune in to the best internet radio stations for your listening pleasure

Even in the streaming era, radio stations get some of the best exclusives and curate some of the finest handpicked playlists around. Here are the best internet radio stations, for your listening pleasure.