I can't find the post now but whoever said that he/she would like to know how these things are chosen and who, ultimately, makes the final decision, I'm 100% on board with.
Here's the thing. I love U2. I will probably always resubscribe - I've done it since the Elevation Tour (I think... is that when it started?). I am very well aware that U2 specifically is not necessarily to blame for the choice of material or the gift itself - that's LiveNation, most likely.
I used to work in a call center. I was employed by a big computer company. When I spoke to a customer on the phone, I wasn't Ender, I was that company. The point I'm trying to make here is U2 not making these decisions doesn't matter - it's their name on the site. And the fact that they are that uninvolved in this process doesn't help matters and actually makes things a bit worse, I wager. I don't blame them for the choice, but I do certainly blame them for their seeming lack of involvement in it. These are, after all, the folks who love them. the folks who are their most die-hards.
There's an episode of Frasier where he has a Halloween party where everyone is supposed to come dressed as their hero. And Frasier has developed a game around the evening where everyone is supposed to answer a series of questions as their hero - a psychological experiment. At one point, no one wants to play the game anymore, and Frasier says something to the tune of "well if we're not playing the game then we're just people standing around in random costumes - it's anarchy!"
The reason we are here is because of the band. If the band isn't here, isn't involved, isn't a part of this process, then we're just a group of people who like U2 and, frankly, we can chat about that connection anywhere we want. We don't have to pay this place to do it. For the gift? Why? Most die-hard fans who would be willing to pay the annual fee already have these songs. For the tickets? Why? If you're a citicard member you can get more than you can as a U2 fan (and in my case, ticket prices were so high I'm actually not seeing them for the first time ever).
I'm not suggesting a rebellion against U2 or anything like that. We hold them to a certain standard. That's why we're here. It is on them to meet it. Not Live Nation. It's U2's name on the door.
I have a very, VERY small fan base. I have no idea what it's like to be huge like U2, and never will. But I talk to that fan base ALL the time. I HAVE to know what they want, what they are looking for, what they expect. I can't meet all the needs and expectations of even this small group. I get that. But I'm always, PERSONALLY, involved. And one way or another (I know this is easy to say NOW) I will find a way to always be. It's smart marketing and smart business sense. No, I'm not going to make a screamo album if even enough of my fan base requests it. It's not me. And they know that so they wouldn't ask it anyway. That's not what they would expect of me.
But within the boundaries of why they like me in the first place, hecks yeah I'm going to do everything I can to make sure they're satisfied.
U2, and LiveNation, can't please everyone in this membership community. I wouldn't expect them to. I don't think hardly anyone would. And while I don't agree that everyone is entitled to getting a gift they like (that's an unreasonable expectation in a group this disparate), I DO agree that we are entitled - by way of having paid the membership - to know more about how this relationship with LiveNation works, how the gifts are determined and, finally, settled on, and why the opinions of fans who are getting these gifts don't matter. I also do believe that smart work and research - working closely with the mods as a middle ground for instance - would allow U2 and LiveNation to have a real pulse on this community and be able to give them something they largely like. That doesn't take much work.
If nothing else - and by the way I'm in the pro-vinyl camp - I don't understand why, if they are going to release music as a gift, apart from releasing music we kind of already have, they don't give the option to deliver that music in more than one collectible format - ie: vinyl AND CD.
I'm not a fan of coming to a party where the host never shows up.