Forging deals like this takes guts because even you Gillian, Bono and Brian Moynihan can’t escape framing this alliance in a cultural context that assumes it is weird, possibly evil, and needs explaining or apologising for. Considering the comments below, apparently it does. But its the wagging finger of our baby boomer parents we hedge against.
That it is at all possible is part of the ascendancy of a new generation that as Steve Jobs would have put it, thinks different. The generation that lived through the 60’s and used to dominate much of the cultural discourse maintained the abstraction that commerce is evil. They’re retiring. Still, generation X has its fair share of teeth gnashers who think that commerce leaves an indelible taint on art. In the 1990s I met a couple of promising bands who didn’t make it because of an absolute refusal to be ‘commercial’. God or some other higher creative power would guide them as long as they stayed pure and true to their principles. This myth has stranded far too many creative people. God rather turned up to help those who, like Bono, helped themselves.
It seems likely that with generation Y growing in prominence alliances such as U2/BoA will increase, the cultural borders and taboos that seemed insurmountable to boomers now are brittle and break easily. Also the X & Y folks demand a different kind of accountability from their employers; they no longer expect to work until retirement for the same employer and so the entire dynamics of that relationship has changed dramatially. What are the new expectations, what are the ties that bind?
Old folks will continue to laugh derisively and ghash their teeth while new generation tries to put its own stamp on affairs. That is the way of the world.
PS: a few years ago I would have been with the crowd deriding this alliance. I actually did when Bono first started to ally with Bill Gates and others. But they’ve won me over. Fortunately things change and people can adapt.