Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason thinks that Apple “got off scot-free” following the mixed response to the way the tech giant distributed U2’s latest album, Songs of Innocence. Speaking with the British edition of GQ, Mason noted how U2 bore the brunt of the negativity, apologizing to iTunes users for “forcing” the album on them.
Although Mason said that he, too, would have taken Apple up on an offer to release one of his albums in exchange for £50 million, the fallout from the release has “made everyone think again about how they want their music delivered, given or sold.
“Look, U2 are a great band, and Bono’s an extraordinary individual, so this isn’t an anti-U2 tirade,” he continued. “But it highlights a vital aspect to the whole idea of music in the 21st century. What’s also interesting is that Apple seem to have got off scot-free. No one’s blaming them. Apple has done great things, but it has also contributed to the devaluation process.”
Earlier in the interview Mason questioned whether music was previously over-valued, but noted that regardless, listeners are missing out on so much talent these days because it’s so hard for musicians to make a living. The future, he said, was likely streaming services such as Spotify, which he said was making iTunes “look rather passé.” Pink Floyd made their catalog available on the service in 2013. Still, he was pointed out that the service does not have the numbers to make financial sense for all musicians (earlier this week, Spotify announced that 15 million of its 60 million users are paid subscribers).
“What we need is another 2 or 3 billion people using it, then it would make more sense for musicians,” the drummer said. “At the moment, the pay-out, particularly for unknowns and only slightly knowns is…pathetic. Pink Floyd is certainly not saying, ‘We won’t do it like that’. We’ll stream, but we’ll stream with higher quality audio, and with a lot more video or other graphic interfaces that will make it part of a fuller entertainment experience.”
Although they may not have gotten a cushy bankroll from Apple, Pink Floyd did reunite last year to release The Endless River, their fifteenth and reportedly final studio LP. The album serves as a tribute to the Floyd’s keyboardist Richard Wright, who died in 2008, and was built by Mason and guitarist David Gilmour out of unreleased music the three recorded for 1994’s The Division Bell.