Friday 27 April 2018

Apple's U2 deal hits a sour note

Tim Cook of Apple with U2
Tim Cook of Apple with U2
MEMOIR PLANS: fashion queen Donna Karan will have a book published next year. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

Orla Healy

Achtung, iTunes users. Within 48 hours of triumphantly inserting Songs of Innocence, into the folders of half a billion clients, Apple's deal to give away U2's new album came under attack from US social and traditional media types who are, in the trending keywords on the topic, "freaking out" that the distribution stunt might have sinister undertones.

Some, like the conspiracy theorists at Business Insider, suspect the hi-tech behemoth is baiting people with the "gift" to divulge their credit card details for unspecified maleficent use with its new Apple Pay System. Others just resent being forced to store music they don't like.

"U2, Apple and rock-and-roll as dystopian junk mail," bleated the Washington Post while the LA Times delivered a self-admitted "cheap shot" about the world's biggest band "leveraging itself into your life without permission," and "recipients getting what they pay for."

The straight-shooters at New York magazine were less bashful (headline: "Everyone Is Mad at Apple for Forcing Them to Download a U2 Album,") about the "mayhem" that exploded when the album from "the wheezing cacophony of a group of ageing Irish rockers," began appearing "in poltergeist-like fashion," unannounced on customers' devices because the vast majority of American users tend to have their settings on automatic download.

The backlash, which also includes a rash of explanations on how to delete the album from your library, got the best treatment from Chris Wade at Slate who said he could "only imagine the ramifications if this trend goes unchecked." One of Wade's worst fears (in "a terrifying new future where taste and culture are even more explicitly chosen directly for us by our corporate overlords," is "Kanye West Teams With Google to Play 'Perfect Booty,' an Ode to His Wife, Following Every Kardashian Search."

Another: "Samsung Galaxy S IX Heroic 7G HoloTouch Edition Holographically Projects Miley Cyrus Grinding a Giant Banana Into the Home of Every 14-Year-Old to Promote Her New Collaboration With Sir Paul McCartney, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Samsung SongSmith Pro Songwriting Algorithm." His idea of a nightmare: "Apple's iNeuron Broadcasts One Direction's 14th Studio Album Directly Into Consumers' Brains. There Is No Opt Out." Ouch.

Madoff saga gets a $16m twist

Andrew Madoff, the eldest son of jailed Ponzi kingpin Bernie, may have reconciled with his mother before his September 2 death from cancer, but judging by the contents of his will which was filed in Manhattan Surrogate's Court on Thursday, the 48-year-old felt no inclination to provide any financial assistance for 73-year-old Ruth Madoff who, by all accounts, could use the help.

Instead, Andrew left an eye-popping $16m estate to be split among his estranged wife Deborah West, their two college-age daughters and his fiancee Catherine Hooper who according to the 18-page document will receive "so long as she is living, the sum of $50,000 on the first day of each month."

After he and his brother Mark turned their father into the FBI on December 10, 2008, he cut off all contact with Ruth because he couldn't understand how she could still go to visit his father in prison.

But after Mark (46), committed suicide on December 11, 2010, Andrew and his mother started talking again. When, in the spring of 2013, the mantle cell lymphoma he had beaten in 2003 returned, she moved from Florida to Connecticut to be with him through a stem-cell transplant, chemotherapy and radiation.

"One way to think of this is the scandal and everything that happened killed my brother very quickly," Andrew told People magazine last year, adding that the stress and shame he experienced since the scandal broke was "killing me slowly. Even on my deathbed I will never forgive him for what he did."

Unsurprisingly, there are plenty of people who can't forgive Andrew - even after his death. In July Irving Picard, the trustee for Madoff's victims, filed a $153m suit against Andrew and Mark's estate claiming the brothers "knew, saw, and were simply too intelligent to plausibly feign ignorance about the fraud that was occurring." Picard is fully expected to appeal the terms of Andrew's will to add to the $9.8bn he has to date recovered in his quest to partially reimburse former Madoff clients.

Memoirs are back in fashion

Donna Karan used her platform at New York Fashion Week to announce she will finally write a memoir. The book, scheduled for release next year, promises to serve up a tantalising mix of war stories about bootstrapping it up through the fashion world and finding the "zen" of spiritual fulfilment.

"Our lives are guided by what happens to us, and we choose which roads to take," Karan explained to reporters. "I was born into fashion. My father, a tailor, died, and that led me to Seventh Avenue. My mentor Anne Klein died, and I was named her successor and at the same time, I became a mother. Ten years later, when I left Anne Klein, my husband Stephan and I launched Donna Karan and DKNY. Later, Stephan's illness and death led me to create Urban Zen. As I look back and reflect on my journey, I see how one chapter led to another, how something ended and something else began."

Diane Von Furstenberg, perhaps feeling pressure as she preps to launch her memoir ("The Woman I wanted to be") next month, was keen to point out that her story is more raw. "Its very honest," she said of her tale which flows through her days (and nights) as wild jet-set princess, her unconventional divorce and her unexpected success building, then rebuilding, a global brand. "I've never gone to therapy," DVF explained, "so I wrote it with my blood." Sold!

Oops

Punchiest one-liner of the week goes to the New York Times which, with signature economy, ran the following correction on Tuesday: An earlier version of a summary with this article misstated the former title of Dick Cheney. He was vice president, not president.

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