For most people watching Apple’s September 9 broadcast, the big stories were the Apple Watch, the iPhone 6, and iOS 8. But for many music fans, your parents in particular, only one thing mattered: the debut of new music by rock legends U2.
Not only did U2 perform new single “The Miracle (of Joey Ramone),” but they dropped an entire album, entitled Songs of Innocence. Rumors had swirled that U2 was about to “pull a Beyoncé,” as surprise album drops have come to be known, but the simultaneous global release of Songs of Innocence made headlines.
The real gimmick, and to the degree this is even relevant in an age when everyone goes to YouTube and Spotify for music and streams count more than sales, is that the album is completely free to iTunes users.
The album was automatically placed in the libraries of every single one of them Tuesday afternoon. At a whopping 500 million digital copies, Songs of Innocence is now the most-owned album in history, without selling a single copy.
How is such a massive giveaway possible? It turns out that Apple footed the bill for all of these albums as part of a $100 million advertising campaign for Songs of Innocence. They’re calling it the “biggest album release in history.”
Time will tell if this is the biggest promotions flop in history – just don’t check your new Apple Watch.