Buckcherry guitarist Keith Nelson says U2's deal with Apple has devalued music and made it harder for bands who still rely on record sales.
The group’s Songs Of Innocence was automatically downloaded free to over 500 million iTunes accounts last week, reputedly costing the technology giant $100m – but Nelson says it sends out the wrong message.
He tells Northwest Music Scene: “I think music has been devalued in the eyes of the consumer, to the point where a band like U2 decides to just give its music away and basically tell people their music isn’t worth anything. That’s a bummer because I know what it takes to write a meaningful record and get it into consumers’ hands.
“They’ve sent a message to everyone that music is free, and that’s disturbing. It’s easy to do that when you’re a multi-millionaire and money isn’t something you worry about. But when you’re a working band and you count on every dollar, it’s disappointing to see someone do that.”
Meanwhile, the UK Entertainment Retailers Association has slammed the U2 giveaway, saying it’s as damaging as piracy and called the promotion a “failure” after fewer than 7000 CDs from the group’s back catalogue sold after the stunt.
ERA Chairman Paul Quirk says: “This promotion is a failure on so many levels. It devalues music, it alienates the majority of people who don’t use iTunes and it disappoints those who prefer to shop in stores.
“Giving away music is as damaging to the value of music as piracy and those who will suffer most are the artists of tomorrow. If one of the biggest rock bands in the world are prepared to give away their new album for free, how can we expect the public to spend £10 on an album by a newcomer?”
Last month, Buckcherry released their profanity-laden Fuck EP, their first release since 2013’s Confessions album.