Apple’s controversial U2 album giveaway is about to wrap up as the record is only scheduled to be free through October 13th, and the company is sharing some numbers about the promotion to celebrate.
Apple SVP of Internet Software & Services Eddy Cue told Billboard that more than 81 million customers ‘experienced songs’ from U2’s Songs of Innocence album either through plays or streams over iTunes, iTunes Radio, or Beats Music where the album was exclusively available to users. The Apple exec added that 26 million full downloads of the album were measured by Apple. Cue also shared that U2’s music had previously been purchased by 14 million customers through iTunes since 2003.
From Billboard: Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior VP of internet software and services, tells Billboard that U2’s Songs of Innocence has racked up a staggering 26 million complete downloads since its Sept. 9 release as a free download exclusively to Apple’s 500 million global iTunes customers. In total, Cue adds, over 81 million Apple customers experienced songs from Innocence, a global figure that includes plays and streams through iTunes, iTunes Radio and Beats Music. “To help put this into perspective,” he says, “prior to this, 14 million customers had purchased music from U2 since the opening of the iTunes Store in 2003.”
Cue previously shared that 33 million people “experienced” the album during the first six days of the promotion after it was reported that only 2 million copies had been downloaded.
The promotion was initially focused at giving away the album for free to iTunes customers, but users were quick to voice complaints over seeing the album automatically appear in existing iTunes libraries. This prompted Apple to share a support document for a a removal tool that hides the album.
Apple reportedly paid up to $100 million for exclusive rights to give away and stream the album from September 9th to October 13th, after which the album will be available for sale traditionally.