Apple and U2 Make Music History with Giving the Album ‘Sounds of Innocence Give’ to All iTunes Users for Free

Posted by at 12:06 pm on September 9, 2014

Apple made a final announcement during the iPhone 6 unveiling that moved away from hardware. After bringing the much rumored U2 to the stage to play a song during the event, Tim Cook and Bono played out a little event on stage that would lead to one of the biggest musical launches in history, and it was happening on iTunes.

U2 worked with Apple to put their newest album, which the band said they just finished recording, Sounds of Innocence up on the iTunes store for free. Rather than giving it away as an exclusive to long-time fans or customers of the service, Cook announced that it would be given for free to the more than 500 million iTunes customers in 119 countries. If each record is counted as a sale, U2 could be breaking numerous daily sales records in a mere matter of seconds.

The new album would show up in the iTunes library, with users only need to download the album from the cloud to download a copy. Users can find it through the album sort section, as it doesn’t appear to show up in individual song lists. Songs of Innocence is live now, and will be free for users until October 13.

There’s no limitation for new iTunes members either, as those that join iTunes until October 13 will be able to download the album for free according to Cook. For those that might be on the fence about picking it up, it can be streamed from iTunes Radio in a featured station or be posted on Beats Music on September 10.


Bono and Cook did a little dance on stage about putting the album out to as many people as possible in as little as five seconds. After playing around with the idea of free, the two entered into a countdown that would posted the free album online. Cook announced that it was the largest worldwide album launch in history. Since it was going out to every iTunes account holder, this could hold true.

As it stands, the deal is much larger than previous digital album launches such as Samsung’s partnership with rapper Jay-Z. Under the deal Samsung pushed out one million copies of Jay-Z’s album Magna Carta Holy Grail to Galaxy devices three days before its official release.

No information on how the deal was structured was provided, but if the album is to be certified for sales records it’s likely that Apple is paying for the privilege to release the album for free on such a large scale. The album likely won’t hold the fastest album release recorded as Jack White released a copy of a live recording of one of his songs in just shy of four hours after playing it on stage.

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