Now before we begin there's obviously more important things going on in the world right now. I am talking about the past and future of U2.com. I don't expect things to change straight away, but it would be great if by the end of this year they had a plan in place for 2021.
For a U2.com subscription you pay $50 ($40 if you are already a subscriber and renewing). Many of us subscribers feel that our money isn't justified being spent on U2.com and are dissatisfied with the service we are receiving. However because of our love for the band we renew every year. This isn't a rant against the moderators of the site as I feel they do an acceptable job. This isn't a rant against the band themselves because lets face it, they're not the ones running this site, and I doubt they suggest or have a say on what goes on here. Can you imagine Larry Mullen Jr telling Guy Oseary "Oh the fans would like that, give that to the subscribers"? No neither can I.
This is addressed to whoever is in charge of delivering content to U2.com subscribers. This could be LiveNation, this could be Guy Oseary, this could be their social media team. Whoever does it, and makes the choices on U2.com, this is directed at you.
For years U2.com has been slacking, the customer support is poor. The content for normal customers and paying subscribers is poor. You only need to look at bands such as Radiohead and Metallica and you can see how far U2 are behind.
Subscription "gifts" arriving late
This is one of the most common complaints about U2.com. The subscription gifts are always late! Now granted we expect this years gift to be late and no one is at fault for that. However my personal experience of U2.com has been a disaster, and this is why people complain about the customer support. 4 times I emailed U2.com because I moved address. Each time they confirmed the "gift" (I put "gift" in speech marks because it's not technically a gift if we're paying for it) would be sent to my new address. They then proceeded to send the gift out to the old address. I got back in contact and they shipped a new gift out to my new address, although they got that address wrong too, so I have no idea where this second gift is. I then got back in contact and asked to be changed to the 2020 gift. They confirmed I would be changed and would send me an email confirming so. Months later and no email. It's not only "gifts" that arrive late. But often items bought from the U2.com shop go missing, or take months to be delievered with no explanation. Another personal experience I've had with the U2.com shop is when I bought a Berlin poster. Couple months had passed and I was wondering where it was. Turns out they had cancelled the order, didn't tell me, weren't going to tell me (my assumption because it had been months since I placed the order) and didn't automatically refund me.
Where do I start with this one? How did you mess up this release so bad? Releasing a 480p DVD of a concert is OK, as long as it's not the only physical version of this concert to exist. Why film a concert in 4K if you're going to release it in 480p? I assume this part would be more directed at Universal, and they probably pulled the plug on this being released for retail (which may have given us more format options) but surely U2.com could have made the 1080p on demand video available for as long as you hold an active account for and not just a year? In around 10 months our only means of watching this show will be on a 480p DVD. Guys (or even Guy if you made this choice) come on, it's 2020. Could you have not made a 4K download available to purchase? That most likely would have decreased the amount of piracy that the subscribers stream received. You guys really shot yourself in the foot on this one.
This is probably the most important section and it's the content that us paying subscribers receive. In 2019 we received 5 subscribers specials; "'DUTCH MASTER'", 'MUSIC UNITES', 'WOMEN TAKING OVER', 'IT MAKES MY HEART WARM…' and 'IT'S NEVER BECOME THEIR JOB…' I'm not counting the 2019 gift updates for subscribers because they were just gift updates and informing us that new tracks were ready to download. Now with respect to all those involved, those 5 specials weren't of the highest quality, nor were they the longest. I think the longest was 3 minutes 30 seconds? This is where U2.com could and should do so much better. Give us better content and more frequently. Do more things with the band. An idea could be a Q&A with a band member every quarter. All questions go into a thread and the band member answers them. Give us behind the scenes stuff from tours, how stages are built, more full length clips of the band performing songs. So far we receive a 20-30 second clip of a song that was filmed whilst the band on tour. Now obviously the whole song must have been filmed yet they choose to give us only a small part of it. Why is this? A full length song a month would be a great idea. We know you have the pro shot footage of them.
The purpose of this post is not to cause anger or offend, but it is to encourage constructive criticism of U2.com. In recent years this site has had around 100k paying subscribers which is around £4 million give or take. That's a lot of money, and surely can justify better quality of content being delivered. Some ideas could be to have all the official pro shot material available to stream on U2.com. Things such as band performances, full concert films, full songs from tours, audio files of songs being performed live, and just more content from the band themselves. You could even have the band recording a couple songs a year and broadcast that on U2.com. Have A4 poster designs available that we can print from home. The possibilities are endless. This site could be so much more, yet it feels like they're not trying. Streaming ZOO TV is a nice tough but lets be honest, everyone has watched that to death by now and that can be easily watched for free elsewhere. A true subscriber special would be to give us something we haven't seen before, or remastering ZOO TV to HD etc.
And remember LiveNation, produce better quality content, more people will subscribe and you'll get more money! 😉