Canadians Complained to the CRTC Over U2’s Automatic Free Album Download


When Apple and U2 teamed up to distribute the band’s newest album Songs of Innocence for free, backlash ensued when it was automatically downloaded to devices that had iCloud enabled for music.

Apple ended up creating an easy one-click removal tool, while in a later interview band leader Bono apologized to those who were upset over the fiasco, saying “we got carried away with ourselves.”

According to the CRTC, some Canadians complained to the regulator over U2’s forced album download, reports the Huffington Post:

To those who contacted the telecom regulator about U2’s new album, “Songs of Innocence,” appearing on their iPhone without their knowledge or consent, the CRTC says, well, that’s between you and iTunes. Current anti-spam laws don’t apply to what iTunes and Ireland’s most famous rock band did there.

Some complaints suspected the automatic album download had circumvented new anti-spam legislation, but according to CRTC spokesperson Patricia Valladao, she “couldn’t say” if Apple’s actions were a violation, since new rules don’t kick in until early 2015.

How many people contacted the CRTC? The telecom regulator revealed there were “two contacts” from consumers over the U2 album, but they weren’t categorized as official complaints. The spokesperson said despite hearing numerous complaints from consumers on a variety of topics, not all are pursued, citing examples of “We get calls when the weather is bad.”

Apple announced earlier this month Songs of Innocence has been downloaded over 26 million times–albeit we don’t know how many from those were by choice.


  • MGSayah

    This confirms that there are idiots among us… Why would you complain when a company gives you something for FREE! If you’re not happy receiving FREE stuff, just delete it. [Period]. The CRTC has more important things to work on…like investigating the big five telecom cartel… I’m just sayin’

  • Jay

    Would have preferred they give it away free on the itunes store but they didn’t…. they made every device I own DOWNLOAD it…. over my cellular network…..
    All ipads and iphones in the family got this crap on it because Apple decided FOR ME that that’s what I wanted.

    I’m not going to complain to the CRTC for this but it was still a breach of my privacy IMO.

  • Jay

    U2 clearly paid Apple for them to forcibly install their album on every iOs device just so they could get the “Most downloaded album of all time” prestige for an album no one really wanted.

  • Firemanjoe

    I never downloaded it – it’s currently sitting in my icloud since I haven’t deleted it yet, but it never made it to my device!

  • CiD

    This image sums it up…

  • Still Haven’t Found

    “How many people contacted the CRTC? The telecom regulator revealed there were “two contacts” from consumers over the U2 album, but they weren’t categorized as official complaints.”…2 complaints?!? Not worth mentioning in any way, shape or form.

  • Spiridus

    OMG, How dare they give something for free!!!!!! Ohhhhh the horrors!! There are more important issues in the world than complaining about a free download. I am so not a fan of U2 but a) I have Automatic Downloads turned OFF and b) I went through the steps of having it removed from my purchase history. Big Deal! Move on!! Sucks big time that we live in a world where people have nothing better to do than complain about pathetic minor issues.

  • Spiridus

    Honestly, no disrespect but go into settings and turn off automatic downloads.

  • Al

    Yes and no. Apple paid U2… but they paid them a heck of a lot less than U2 would have gotten if everyone had actual bought the album.

  • Jay

    Shouldnt have to disable a feature to avoid apple spam

  • FragilityG4

    If you have automatic downloads enabled you must not have any cellular data concerns … If I was concerned I would turn it off …

  • Tom

    Here’s free money, a free house, a free vacation, a free car….

    No I don’t want your spam… :p

  • jabohn

    Only in a first world country would people complain about getting something for free. I’m still shaking my head on that one.

  • Parksy

    It was still in U2’s best interest to do the deal they did. The revenue they generated would have been greater than individual CD’s and there is no such thing as bad promotion.

  • With all this ‘bad’ press the relationship has paid off dividends in terms of people now hearing about U2 again

  • talkiewalkie

    The Canadians who complained are an embarrassment to this country. What a joke.

  • Anon

    You are comparing free money, house, car to a crappy U2 album. Here’s a more accurate one: A dog takes a big dump on your lawn, and it’s owner grabs that shit and rams it down you throat!

  • Anon

    Yet here you are posting this rant, instead of ignoring this whole article and the comments posted within.