Black Keys drummer: U2 release 'devalued their music'

Story highlights

  • Patrick Carney is unhappy that U2 gave away "Songs of Innocence" for free
  • Distribution method "devalued their music completely," he said
  • "Innocence" was released to 500 million iTunes subscribers at once
  • Carney also had words for streaming services such as Spotify
First the Black Keys' Patrick Carney lit into Justin Bieber. Now he's taking on U2.
The outspoken drummer, who said a few months ago that Bieber "should be grateful that he has a f****** career in music," did not mince words when talking about the release of U2's latest, "Songs of Innocence," as a free download from iTunes.
The album's distribution "devalued their music completely," Carney told The Seattle Times. It "sends a huge mixed message to bands ... that are just struggling to get by. I think that they were thinking it's super generous of them to do something like that."
The U2 album was automatically downloaded into more than 500 million iTunes folders upon release September 9 -- pleasing some fans but angering others who didn't want the album in the first place. Bono later apologized for the inconvenience.
"I'm sorry about that," Bono said in a question-and-answer video posted this week on the band's Facebook page. "I had this beautiful idea, but (we) got carried away with ourselves. Artists are prone to that kind of thing. A drop of megalomania, a touch of generosity, a dash of self-promotion and deep fear that these songs, that we poured our life into over the last few years, mightn't be heard."
Apple observed that the album had been fully downloaded 26 million times and that 81 million people had listened to at least one song.
Carney also defended the Keys' choice not to put their last two albums on Spotify. Artists aren't being fairly compensated, he said. (Cracker's David Lowery has made the same point about Pandora.)
"My whole thing about music is: If somebody's making money then the artist should be getting a fair cut of it," Carney said.
Presumably referring to Spotify co-founder Sean Parker, he added, "The owner of Spotify is worth something like 3 billion dollars ... he's richer than Paul McCartney and he's 30 and he's never written a song."