U2 may seem like high-and-mighty rock and roll legends (and, hey, they are), but their drummer hasn’t forgotten the plight of young musicians in today’s digital free-for-all.
In an interview with RTE 2FM’s Larry Gogan Show, Larry Mullen, Jr. was blunt: “Companies like Spotify, the new Apple service, and all the others are really going to have to pay artists more.”
U2 has a long working relationship with Apple. Bono was close with Steve Jobs. U2’s “Vertigo” appeared in an early iPod/iTunes commercial. And in 2014, U2’s album Songs of Innocence was released for free to all iTunes users, a deal which sources told Billboard was worth around $100 million. U2 is in a position where it can afford to release an album for free — clearly not the industry norm.
“I think [the music industry] is broken. A lot of younger artists don’t get paid. I think that’s a real problem.” Still, Mullen thinks Apple — along with other the industry forces — need to compensate artists more fairly.
He was optimistic on the matter, admitting, “I think it’s a matter of time. I think a lot of these companies and the individuals that are involved in them realize that as well. They know that artists are not getting what they should be getting.”
“The most important thing is that people who are going out there, songwriters, that they are able to earn a living from writing songs and releasing songs,” he said. “The fact that they can’t, that just seems crazy to me.”
U2 is still touring in support of Songs of Innocence. Tomorrow (Nov. 10), they’ll play one of four forthcoming sold out shows in Paris’ AccorHotels Arena. Their current touring itinerary wraps Nov. 28 in Dublin.