Veteran Irish rockers U2 pulled off the largest album release in history at Tuesday’s Apple Inc. event to launch the new iPhone 6 and much awaited iWatch.
The decision to release their latest album, Songs of Innocence for free on Apple’s iTunes online stores to half a billion users comes as a further sign of the growing decade-long association between the musicians and the multinational corporation.
U2 and Apple Inc. have already collaborated on a series of television commercials, the first special edition iPod and Product Red.
U2 released its new 11-track album live on stage with Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook.
Despite this, the giveaway to more than 500 million iTunes users will not count toward official music sales figures at Nielsen SoundScan as it has been distributed for free.
The band will release Songs of Innocence and a deluxe version featuring four new tracks and acoustic performances to the rest of the world on Oct. 14, through its label Interscope Records.
The decision to release free digital copies of the album first resulted in U2 missing out, the Grammy awards eligibility deadline which applies only to ‘commercially released’ records between the period of October 1, 2013 to September 30, 2014.
This is not the first instance of free digital releases of an album as in July 2013; rapper Jay-Z had released his album Magna Carta Holy Grail for free to a million users of Samsung smartphones via a special app.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 11th, 2014.
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