Freemium Outrage

Okay, wait a minute…I thought we were permanently ensconced — imprisoned? — in the Age of Free, in an era where either you give it away or it will be illegally downloaded from you…or ignored completely.

What gives then, Millennials, with all the outrage over Apple’s gift – gift meaning free, the word that has completely destroyed the record industry and is on the verge of bringing down Hollywood and maybe even the Big 6 (or 5…I forget) Publishers – of U2’s new album “Songs of Innocence?”

What? You only like free when it’s an illegal download?

What? You cry “Big Brother” upon seeing the free album magically cued in your iTunes player and then forget we live in the Internet Age, which is synonymous with the Age of Free, and the Age of Open Identity, the Age where you share every possible detail about your life without any care whatsoever.

What? You already forgot Snowden?

But when Apple gives you a gift, one that cost them somewhere in the ballpark of $30,000,000.00 (that’s Thirty Million Dollars for those unfamiliar with dollars since they’re so used to getting everything free), which is the price Apple reportedly paid U2 so they could give it away, you freak out as if you had just had a mind-controlling robot implanted into your brain (which you probably wouldn’t mind as long as it was done either illegally or as a joke so you could post it on facebook or whatever social network your tribe has migrated to just so you can get a flurry of “likes” or whatever.

Give me a freekin break.

Think about it. Why shouldn’t Apple reward both U2 and you, too?

Both of you have made Apple enormous, uncomprehendable amounts of money.

It was U2 and their Vertigo commercial for Apple’s iPod that assisted Apple in changing the landscape — wrecking the landscape? — of music forever.

And it is you — or more likely your parents — who went out and bought those newfangled music players by the millions so you could be happy. Because let’s face it Millennial, it’s your happiness and only your happiness that matters these days.

So stop complaining for a change — please — and sit back, relax, and enjoy your gift of free music…

6 thoughts on “Freemium Outrage”

    • The lego post is quite interesting – you’re a pretty deep dude – but perhaps you meant to link to your U2 post? It seems, after reading the two posts, you seem to be pretty down on capitalism/consumerism. I guess a lot of people are these days, understandably so. But, some things in your U2 post didn’t quite jibe with me. Like, whoever said that a gift from a business had to have the same qualities that are associated with the grace of God? Come on..of course there were bottom-line considerations/implications behind the give-away. Apple is a business. U2 is a business. Businesses are in the business of making money. No need to be so righteous about it. And from what I read, it was Apple’s “gift,” not U2s. U2 got paid, as you noted. Apple is the one doing the giving. Bono even made a statement to the fact that music sales are obsolete (thanks to our new freemium way of life). Musicians, aka entrepreneurs, have to find other ways of making revenue off their music if they have any interest in survival.

      Anyway, good stuff. And yes, Joshua Tree is all that…

      • Ha ha ha. Apologies for giving the wrong link. Thanks for responding the right post!

        In response I would say I’m not down on capitalism (and when I’m down on consumerism I’m sort of by default defining it vis-a-vis it’s negative outcomes). I believe in private property and free markets if that’s what you mean by capitalism. What I’m down on is the commodification of things that aren’t commodities and the bleeding over of the market into areas of life that shouldn’t be ruled by market transactions–the tyranny of the market in all of life. So for example, when U2 calls their album a gift (from Apple), the are blurring the lines between the market and interactions characterized by love and mutual relationship. So when you say, Who says that a gift from a company has to have the same qualities as the grace of God? I would say, of course it can’t, so why are we calling it a gift? A corporation cannot give a gift. Only a person can give a gift. A business is, as you say, in the business of making money. So all its actions are aimed toward that end. Therefore, it cannot give a gift, since a gift by definition is not rooted in the profit motive.

        I guess what I’m trying to do is protect the language of gift/grace and the gestures associated with them from the encroachment of market forces which are confusing or distorting them. And I like and respect U2 a lot, so I’m a little disappointed they aren’t similarly concerned about.

        • You’re a pretty heavy dude so it is not surprising you’re putting such a heavy burden on what defines a gift. While I really dig/appreciate your outlook, and I am by no means gonna try to get into a philosophical thumb-wresting contest with you (because I don’t want to get pummeled) but a gift may be what you say it is, or what anyone says it is, but it is also what Merriam-Webster says it is:

          noun \ˈgift\

          : something that is given to another person or to a group or organization

          : a special ability

          A gift may be given altruistically or it may be given out of an expectation of a ROI. Even if one gives a gift from the heart, without any expectation of anything in return, there still is – maybe consciously or not – the self(ish)-satisfaction of the act of kindness — a sort of ROI, so to speak.

          I like U2. I like Apple. And I like that, for whatever reason, they gave me free music.

          And I like your site. Expect me to be harassing you on your home field every now and again. 🙂


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