81 million iTunes users have ‘experienced’ U2’s free album

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U2
Apple's U2 marketing campaign cost over $100 million. Photo: Apple
Photo: Apple

It’s been one month since Apple blasted U2’s loud, proud, and totally free new album, Song of Innocence, onto every iTunes account in the world, and now the the complaints have died down, Eddie Cue has revealed how enormously successful the free album has been.

Over 81 million iTunes users have ‘experienced’ Song of Innocence Cue told Billboard, and further divulged that downloads of the album in its entirety have topped 26 million.

Putting those numbers into perspective, Cue says that prior to the free album launch “14 million customers had purchased music from U2 since the opening of the iTunes Store in 2003.”

The exact terms of Apple’s deal with U2 aren’t entirely clear, though it’s been reported Apple paid $100 million to market the album, and Billboard estimates they may have payed Universal Music Group $52 million for exclusive rights to the album, while the upfront fee could have been “in the $5 million range.”

Apple and U2 haven’t spoken publicly about the terms of the deal, but U2 did release the following statement in regards to Apple’s free gift to iTunes users:

“Apple is a tech company fighting to get musicians paid. The idea that they wanted to make a gift to the very people that actually purchase music is both beautiful and poetic, and for that we are very grateful.”

Songs of the Innocence’s iTunes exclusivity ends on October 14th when a physical deluxe copy of the album will hit retail stores. The physical disc is estimated to sell around 70,000 copies in the first week.