This U2 study might simply prove that most people don't know how, or are too lazy, to remove U2's horrid music from their iTunes after it was forced on there

I got a press release today which reads as follows:


“This is fantastic news. If these figures suggest that these songs still matter to people, then we’re knocked out. That’s all any songwriter wants." — Bono

An independent study has concluded that U2 accounted for 23% of all music listened on iOS devices throughout January 2015.

The study, conducted by the Kantar Group, found that not only was U2 the most-listened-to act on the iOS platform, but that more users were listening to U2 than the second (Taylor Swift at 11%) and third (Katy Perry at 8%) runners-up combined.

Additionally, Kantar found that 95% of the U2 listeners listened to one or more tracks from the band’s current album, Songs Of Innocence.

"It's nice to know that 5 months on so many people have discovered Songs of Innocence. In the end we just wanted people to hear the album. We took a big risk but today we can say that the experiment worked.” — The Edge

Most press coverage has followed along with the deluded and self-congratulatory logic of this awful, awful group of Irish multi-millionaires. I'd simply posit that it is entirely possible, since every single person's iTunes account was force-fed this horrid music, that very many people pressed play on a U2 song in one of three ways: 1} To see for themselves if it is as horrible as they feared it might be. 2} Accidentally! — the most likely culprit, since these people perhaps listened to it because it's simply in their iTunes and that person hit "shuffle." I'll get more into that in one minute. 3} Surely, some percentage of those people listened to a song last month by this band because they actually like their music. I'm available to provide counseling to these wayward souls, free of charge.

But if you do the math and you realize that many, many people must not have been bothered to remove U2's last record from the program, and you take into account the ubiquity of people using "shuffle," then this percentage is actually pretty low. 11 separate files of U2's stinky music was inserted into everybody's music library. And while the average number of songs in an iTunes library is 7,160, or was four years ago according to this study here, I think that brings the chance of hearing a U2 song when you hit shuffle down to one in 650, if all you own by them is that forced record. These odds would increase exponentially for each track played while on the random shuffling mode, I believe, and would of course be increased if that person's library included any further songs by the Irish act. I'm no mathlete, but I think I'm right about that. 

The entire tone of this press release, this joke of a band saying "SEE? People love our overblown, pompous twaddle, and Apple totally should have given us millions in order to infect everyone with it," that really was a special gift on a Tuesday afternoon.

About The Author

Mike McGonigal

Metro Times music editor Mike McGonigal has written about music since 1984, when he started the fanzine Chemical Imbalance at age sixteen with money saved from mowing lawns in Florida. He's since written for Spin, Pitchfork, the Village VOICE and Artforum. He's been a museum guard, a financial reporter, a bicycle...
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