Tuesday, Apple and U2 did what they thought was a really neat thing: They released U2’s new album for free to everyone with an iTunes account. No purchase necessary… it just shows up in your iTunes library.

What a cool thing, right? The new album from one of the biggest acts in rock, for free!

Then, this happened.

Ignoring the cool kids tripping over themselves to proclaim their dislike of U2’s music, there’s a real issue here.

Let’s think about all the cascading assumptions that go into thinking this is a good idea:

What started of as a cool idea in a boardroom breaks down because of flawed assumptions about the wants and needs of over 500 million (!!) users.

Coupled with the prevailing concerns about data security as companies increasingly ask us to put our trust in their clouds, and you’ve got a situation ripe for blowback.

The takeaway here from a user experience perspective is: Never assume.