As people continue to freak out over Apple’s forced iTunes download of U2’s new album titled “Songs of Innocence,” the New York Times newspaper has learned from sources that the value of the arrangement between the iPhone maker and the aging Irish rock band is in the ballpark of $100 million.

“To release U2’s album free, Apple paid the band and Universal an unspecified fee as a blanket royalty and committed to a marketing campaign for the band worth up to $100 million, according to several people briefed on the deal,” writes NYT.

And according to the band’s manager Guy Oseary, the Cupertino firm has other U2-backed music related projects in the works.

This is in line with U2 leader Bono’s previous comment to Time insisting the arrangement between the band and Apple is a commercial one.

”We were paid,” Bono said, “I don’t believe in free music. Music is a sacrament”.

The album is available free of charge exclusively to the 500 million iTunes users in 119 countries through October 13. Beginning October 14, Universal will start selling the album at stores and make it available through streaming services like Spotify.

As part of the deal, U2 will also provide the soundtrack to Apple’s advertising campaign, with Bono’s comments alluding to this being a long-term partnership.

U2 manager Guy Oseary said in an interview with Billboard that the band is working “on other things” as well with Apple related to how music is heard and innovation.

“This is a long relationship,” he said.

iTunes Vice President of Content, Robert Kondrk, is ”leading that charge“, noted Oseary, teasing “a lot of things still to come that are really interesting”.

The manager hint that U2 are interested in helping revive the album format which has been under pressure ever since iTunes started selling 99-cent songs a decade ago.

U2 members, he goes one, want fans to ”support the art form of artwork and lyrics and video content and just get into their music in a much different way than an MP3 file”.

U2 free album on iTunes (image 004)

The exposure from the deal, The Wall Street Journal speculates, could help reinvigorate interest in the band’s “enormously lucrative back catalogue” comprised of thirteen studio albums, one live album and five compilations.

Total sales of all U2 albums have been pegged at $150 million, with the band’s last “No Line on the Horizon” album moving a modest five million copies.


Basically, Apple here bought a $100 million gift from U2 to give away to its customers. What blows my mind is that no one seems to want the album in their iTunes library, and most listeners seem to be loathing it outright.

I don’t mind it and am certainly not hating on Apple for giving me free music. On the other hand, I do empathize with folks who express deep dislike over Apple shoving the album down their throat.

“Don’t shove your music into people’s homes,” wrote the New Yorker’s Sasha Frere-Jones. “A U2 album that some would have taken seriously was instead turned into an album that seems as pointless as it probably is.”

U2 free album on iTunes (image 001)

Couldn’t agree more with Frere-Jones.

If you’re a fan of the Irish rock band, you can download the whole album free of charge to your mobile or desktop device, here’s how. In case U2 is not your cup of tea, follow Jake’s quick tip to remove the album from your ‘Purchased’ section in iTunes.

What are your feelings on the free U2 music deal and, especially with respect to Apple’s execution of the giveaway?

[The New York Times]

  • So they don’t like apple shoving something down their throat that they won’t, but are fine by them shoving the same specs. I personally am grateful for it.

  • RarestName

    Not to be rude or anything, but that statement makes the leader sound like of like a dick.

    • yermum

      Referring to Bono, you’re completely correct. He is a massive wanker/dick.

  • Matheus Lisboa

    I didn’t really notice because I don’t get the music That often. But that statement really did make him sound like a dick, just saying

  • Marwan Ansari

    $100 million is nothing for Apple.

  • Vatsal Manot

    The album was pretty good IMO. I don’t see why people are getting so pissed off about it, I mean it’s free music after all.

    • CAS

      Right 🙂

  • Maxim∑

    100 million is ridiculous.. I could understand maybe 10 million but wow.

    I don’t really even find that album incredible either

    • Rowan09

      I could have done it for $10 million, Apple really missed out on a great opportunity.

      • Chang in Charge

        Seriously if this was their budget for a music promo type thing think about all the way more relevant artists that they could of paired with to improve their “cool” branding and make customers happy. Especially for younger customers this seems like a loss. I immediately downloaded and deleted. Think about what Samsung did with Jay Z.

      • Rowan09

        Not sure what Jay-Z did for Samsung, but he did do something for himself. I never heard sales figures and people with any Samsung device was able to get the Album free. Jay-Z won on that deal and it benefited Samsung little. Maybe there’s something I don’t know about U2 because Jay-Z isn’t really international and this band is worldwide.

  • Muhammad !

    I found that crap in my music days ago … UGHHHH!

  • butterfield

    I almost feel sorry for Apple in that they think U2 is (still) a big deal and that everyone would be thrilled. Both the album & the commercial suck.

  • M3rcenary

    Every other day: “I can’t believe I’m paying so much for XYZ”, or “I can’t believe I’m not getting XYZ for free”
    Today: I can’t believe those BASTARDS gave me XYZ for FREE when I didn’t even ask for it.
    Tomorrow: “I can’t believe I’m paying so much for XYZ”………

    Bitches gunna bitch.

    • 0_0

      Kinda like how you’re bitching about bitches bitching making you also one of those bitches… Awkward….

      • M3rcenary

        Kinda like how you’re bitching about me bitching about bitches, bitch.

      • 0_0

        Wrong on all counts. I didn’t bitch about anything. I stated an observation using your own comment. Fail.

      • Umut Bilgiç

        Lol drop the bitchin once

    • Wish I could return the garbage album for iTunes credits…free garbage is no benefit even if it arrives at my door step automatically. If they actually wanted to just gift users, iTunes credits would be a lot more beneficial.

  • CAS

    I don’t understand people, they want free stuff, if they get free stuff they get mad, makes no sense to me, they gave us the album, but we don’t have to listen it (personally I like the album)

  • TJ

    Perhaps they would have been better off just making it free in the iTunes Music Store and let those who want it download from there. Then instead of paying the insane amount of $100 million+ they could just fork out based on the number of people that actually downloaded the album.

    • Mr.Coolfreak

      I think it was part of the deal that Apple was just going to put in the music for everyone, it is good for U2 since they get publicity

      • Apple also probably wanted to break all records since the U2 album is likely the most owned album in history and was distributed via iTunes, so that’s U2’s name on the record books and Apples name on the record books, everybody’s happy…

  • springer85

    LOL at the FAKE Apple fans CRYING that they have been given a free album!
    They made a deal with U2 so DEAL WITH IT!
    You received 12 free songs, if you do not like U2 DON’T LISTEN TO THE SONGS!
    Seriously this is what is wrong with the world today, they get something for free and STILL complain!

    • Dan

      seems legit

      • RarestName

        I hate it when people complain about people complaining about complaints.

      • Dan


  • Tom

    Awful album.

    • Umut Bilgiç

      Hahah I actually quite liked it. Especially the one in the keynote “The miracle” sounds great 😀 i wonder what percantage of users keep the album

  • Mr.Coolfreak

    I don’t think Apple got their money’s worth, people don’t realize Apple spent 100 millions for the album. If apple wanted to do something for the customers, they could have given away some accessories from the apple store away total worth 100 million.

    • lemieuxfan67

      I thought of the deal from a different point of view. The album is free to anyone who has an iTunes account by Oct 13th. My opinion is that they are using this “promotion” to get people who do not have iTunes accounts signed up for one. And while they are add it, they might add their credit card. And before long, they might buy some music. And who knows, they could start using Apple Pay before long. I just see this as another marketing technique to gain customers.

      • Umut Bilgiç

        It is. Everything any company makes is to make money lol

    • 空白

      Not really… If you think of the scale. It’s a digital download which means one of the only production costs would be the actual recording of the album. If you look at that times 500 million? Let’s say they give away a case. They’re footing the bill for all of the production. Now multiply those costs by that number. Sure not everyone wants a U2 album, but tell me who doesn’t want a free case?

    • Timothy

      But what else could Apple give iTunes users at 20¢ a head?

  • becoolyolanda

    Theres so much you can tell about a person that has that special brand of manufactured hatred of U2. I wouldn’t want it any other way. 凸(¬‿¬)凸

  • The other persons comment was not in relation to Bonos charitable work but in relation to his comment stating he doesn’t believe in free music which I completely agree is an ignorant thing to say. There’s so much awesome music on SoundCloud for free and he’s basically saying he doesn’t believe any of it should be free and people should be forced to pay for it…

    • Sean Clark

      No, he isn’t. All he said is “Bono is a massive wanker.” If he was only criticizing Bono’s comment, he’d direct his criticism at that.

      The only reason there is such an anti-Bono circlejerk is because of a South Park episode. I laughed at it too, but I am not holding onto it like it’s the truth. Considering how much Bono has done to help the world, it’s really petty to call him a dick.

      • FYI, He did reply to to the previous comment effectively directing his comment at that particular comment. However after re-reading it I also notice he specifically vented his comment at Bono (“Referring to Bono”). It appears at first glance I must have misread it so thanks for pointing this out to me.

  • I still don’t get it… The way people are angry as if Apple gave them U2’s album and charged their iTunes accounts without there consent. It’s FREE people Why everyone so serious :p

  • yermum


  • cdnchinaman

    It’s free and it was announced during the presentation. Don’t like it, delete it and move on… the real Apple users know how to do this and I believe only those who have automatic music downloads are experiencing this problem. I don’t have that turned on so I actually had to download it myself. Make sure your settings are correct before blasting Apple for giving you free music whether you are a fan of U2 or not. At the end of the day, I think it’s more the non-Apple users complaining and spinning this negatively to turn people away from Apple but it (like those Samsung ads) won’t work and the loyal Apple users will stay loyal. I also know some Android users that are looking to get their hands on the new iPhone 6 devices too so it’ll be interesting to see how many Android users convert or return to Apple.

  • Ron Kendrick

    He could do what he wants to, he’s got lots of money to do what he wants, but he is still a giant wanker in personality, as is Bill Gates, who is a huge, socialistic tool.