updated 05:05 pm EDT, Mon March 9, 2009
U2 partners with RIM
U2 appears to have taken a step away from its relationship with Apple, as the band has chosen Research In Motion to sponsor the upcoming U2 360 Degrees tour. Apple in 2004 joined with U2 and Universal Music Group (UMG) to "create innovative products together for the new digital music era." Bono and The Edge stood with Steve Jobs to announce the new generation of iPods, including an iPod U2 Special Edition that included custom engravings of the band members' signatures.
"We want our audience to have a more intimate online relationship with the band, and Apple can help us do that," said U2 lead singer Bono at the time. Many companies in the music industry have become displeased with the Apple, however, arguing that company's strict pricing guidelines for iTunes tracks has cut into profits from album sales.
UMG's chief Doug Morris late in 2007 claimed his company had been ensnared by the "golden handcuffs" of Apple's music portal. The executive explained that Universal became dependent on iTunes after insisting on copy protection and then allowing Apple to use its own proprietary format.
"There's no one in the record company that's a technologist," he said. "They just didn't know what to do... We were just grateful that someone was selling online. The problem is, [Apple chief Steve Jobs] became a gatekeeper... We would hate to give up that income."
Aside from the BlacBerry sponsorship, Bono is also a partner in the firm Elevation Partners which holds a 39 percent ownership stake in Palm. Interestingly enough, the U2 360 Degrees tour likely will start around the same time that Palm will release the Pre.
"This tour announcement marks the first stage of a relationship and shared vision between RIM and U2 that we expect will lead to new and innovative ways to enhance the mobile music experience on the BlackBerry platform for U2 fans. We look forward to sharing more details as the relationship unfolds," said Paul McGuinness, the band's manager. [via CNBC]