APPLE is giving away legendary rock band U2's latest album "Songs of Innocence," to its iTunes Store customers, making it the largest album release ever with over half a billion copies distributed.
The album features 11 new songs from the band and charts their earliest influences from 70s rock and punk rock to early 80s electronica and soul.
Apple says the album is free for iTunes Store account holders in 119 countries and is available exclusively on iTunes® for the next five weeks.
"From the very beginning U2 have always wanted our music to reach as many people as possible, the clue is in our name I suppose-so today is kind of mind-blowing to us. The most personal album we've written could be shared with half a billion people… by hitting send,'' U2 lead singer Bono said.
"If only songwriting was that easy.''
"It's exciting and humbling to think that people who don't know U2 or listen to rock music for that matter might check us out.
"Working with Apple is always a blast. They only want to do things that haven't been done before-that's a thrill to be part of."
"U2 has been an important part of Apple's history in music and we're thrilled to make 'Songs of Innocence' the largest album release ever," said Eddy Cue, Apple's senior vice president of Internet Software and Services.
"We get to share our love of music today by gifting this great new album to over half a billion iTunes customers around the world."
"Songs of Innocence" features 11 new songs from the band and is their most personal work to date, charting their earliest influences from 70s rock and punk rock to early 80s electronica and soul and giving insight into how and why the band came together and the relationships in and around them, their family and friendships.
Recorded in New York, London, Los Angeles and Dublin the album is produced by Danger Mouse, along with Paul Epworth, Ryan Tedder, Declan Gaffney and Flood.
Apple is gifting "Songs of Innocence" to iTunes Store account holders.
Customers who sign up for an iTunes Store account in the next five weeks will get the album as a gift. "Songs of Innocence" is also available to stream via iTunes Radio℠.
Apple and U2 share a special connection in music. U2 was an important partner for the opening of the iTunes Store in 2003.
Apple worked with U2 on the iPod® U2 Special Edition and created "The Complete U2" box set together.
U2 continues to be one of the most popular bands ever on the iTunes Store.
Apple has partnered with Bono and (RED) to fight for an AIDS-free generation by creating RED merchandise.
More than $75 million has been generated by Apple for the Global Fund.