81 million people listened to U2’s ‘Songs of Innocence’ Apple gave away via iTunes

“Despite all the gripes that Apple had no right to shove U2’s Songs of Innocence into 500 million people’s iTunes libraries, a lot of folks apparently ended up listening to the album,” Victor Luckerson reports for TIME Magazine.

“The new LP, which Apple gifted to iTunes users in conjunction with the company’s iPhone 6 announcement, has been fully downloaded 26 million times, the company said,” Luckerson reports. “In total, 81 million people have “experienced” songs from the album, via Apple services including the iTunes Store, iTunes Radio and Beats Music.”

“For perspective, 14 million customers have purchased U2 albums from the iTunes Store since the digital store launched in 2003,” Luckerson reports. “The group’s best-selling album, The Joshua Tree, has sold more than 10 million copies in the United States (across all formats).”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Not too shabby for a “dismal failure,” huh?

For further reference, the Top Three Bestselling Albums of All Time:
1. Michael Jackson, Thriller, 1982, 42.4 million
2. Pink Floyd, The Dark Side of the Moon, 1973, 22.7 million
3. Whitney Houston / Various artists, The Bodyguard, 1992, 27.4 million

Related articles:
U2’s Bono talks 885 million iTunes accounts, new music format, and ‘haters’ – September 22, 2014
Unsurprisingly, bypassed music retailers call Apple’s free U2 album a ‘dismal failure’ – September 16, 2014
Why the anger over iTunes’ free U2 album ‘Songs Of Innocence?’ – September 16, 2014
Apple creates tool for removing free U2 album from iTunes library – September 15, 2014
Apple iTunes users download 2 million copies of new U2 album; 17 other U2 albums in iTunes top 100 chart – September 12, 2014
Apple’s new TV spot “Echoes” featuring U2, iTunes and iPhone 6 goes into heavy rotation – September 11, 2014
Some iTunes users upset over Apple’s U2 album giveaway – September 11, 2014
Apple and U2 release ‘Songs of Innocence’ exclusively for iTunes Store customers – September 9, 2014


  1. I’m not one of the 81 million.
    I did indeed use Apple’s solution to delete the album.
    I also didn’t listen to it.
    It was not just a matter of principle, I never really could stand U2, particularly Bono.
    I was not pleased with Tim Cook’s decision to blow $100+ million on this stunt.
    It’s not a first world problem per se; FWIW, I’m typing this from a 3rd world country.
    My primary objection: besides Apple shoving an album without my consent from an artist I don’t much care for, I don’t like to be used for some record making stunt, particularly from a company I considered a friend for decades.

    1. Oh, do grow up! You sound like all the other whiney little bitches snivelling about being ‘used’ or some other stupid crap.
      Next you’ll be claiming you were ‘violated’ or some such, when in reality you’ve got some sort of self imposed moral issue with Bono and his band, which you enjoy flaunting to give yourself some sort of superiority over the rest of us.
      There’s a quote I read once:
      “The ethical dwarf, posturing upon the moral high ground, presents a ludicrous spectacle.”
      There’s a lot of ludicrous people out there making a spectacle of themselves.

    1. I’m not sure how relevant the numbers are this time considering some users have their iPhone set to autodownload purchases and may have immediately erased it w/o actually listening.

      1. Read the article: they report two numbers; total downloads (21 million), and total number that actually LISTENED to the songs, across Apple platforms (iTunes, iTunes Radio, Beats music subscription). Those who deleted without listening were not counted. Remember, Apple knows when you listen to your songs (it increments the song playing counter in iTunes/on your iPhone and across your iCloud profile).

        1. Was not aware iTunes kept track of how many times you listened to a song.. Is that accessible and allowed to be erased by the user? Does it work with songs that you uploaded/matched in the iCloud?

  2. Make no mistake about it: record labels are very perplexed about this novel and new delivery effort, since it has the potential of further making them irrelevant and sidelined.

  3. Now this makes much more sense to me… remember at the start of this they were saying I think 4 million downloads (or was it 2?) Either way, it was a lot of downloads for an album, no doubt, but seemed way light for as many iTunes accounts as there are, particularly for a free download. 26 mil is pretty damn awesome for them.

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