U2’s free-to-iTunes-customers album, “Songs of Innocence” has been downloaded in its entirety more than 26 million times since its September release, and more than 81 million customers have “experienced songs” from the album via iTunes, iTunes Radio, and Beats Music.
Eddy Cure, Apple’s Grand Poobah of iTunes, told Billboard:
“To help put this into perspective, prior to this, 14 million customers had purchased music from U2 since the opening of the iTunes Store in 2003.”
During Apple’s September 9th iPhone event, U2 front man Bono took the stage with Apple CEO Tim Cook to announce that the album would be available free to all 500 million of Apple’s iTunes customers. Apple made the album automatically available on iOS devices, in some cases causing the album to be downloaded to a device without the user’s specific permission.
The automatic downloads caused an Internet snitfest, eventually prompting Apple to come up with a tool that would remove the free album from users’ iTunes libraries.