The wait for a new U2 album is over. On Tuesday, U2 announced the release of Songs of Innocence at the Apple’s iPhone 6 Event in California, and launched into the opening track The Miracle(of Joey Ramone) on stage there.
In a bold, pioneering move, U2 released the album for free to every iTunes user. The complete album appeared in a user’s music library – no downloading necessary – all a person has to do is go to their iTunes music library, check the “Recently Added” section, and there it is.
Apple has had a ten-year history with U2 when the band first appeared in a TV commercial for the iPod. Apple bought the new album as a gift to give all their music customers.
CEO of Apple, Tim Cook called it "the biggest album release in the history of music" because the album is being automatically distributed into the music libraries of everyone with an iTunes account -- more than half a billion people.
Bono explained, “Part of the DNA of this band has always been the desire to get our music to as many people as possible. In the next 24 hours, over a half a billion people are going to have Songs of Innocence… should they choose to check it out. That is so exciting. People who haven’t heard our music, or weren’t remotely interested, might play us for the first time because we’re in their library.”
He added, “What a mind blowing, head scratching, 21st century situation. Over 500 million people… that’s a billion ears. And for the people out there who have no interest in checking us out, look at it this way… the blood, sweat and tears of some Irish guys are in your junk mail.”
On October 14th the physical release of Songs of Innocence on CD will be available to purchase with a 24-page booklet. Another option will be a deluxe, gatefold double album, containing an acoustic session of songs from the album and four additional tracks.
Songs of Innocence was recorded in Dublin, London, New York and Los Angeles and is produced by Danger Mouse, who won the 2013 Grammy Award for Best Rock Song for Lonely Boy; along with Paul Epworth who has produced Adele, Florence and the Machine, Coldplay; Ryan Tedder, the frontman of the pop rock band OneRepublic whose production credits include Jennifer Lopez, Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood; Declan Gaffney, who worked on U2’s last album No Line On The Horizon; and Flood, (New Order, U2, PJ Harvey, The Smashing Pumpkins). The album closes with The Troubles featuring the distinctive vocals of Swedish indie singer-songwriter Lykke Li, a 28-year old Swedish pop singer-songwriter appearing in Philadelphia at Union Transfer on October 1st.
There are hints that Chris Martin of Coldplay was involved in the recording. Apparently his name is credited in the 24-page booklet that only comes with the hard copy of the CD on October 14th, the day after the free iTunes delivery stops. A simple “thank you for your contributions” is all we’ve heard about the credit but there are pictures of Martin entering, leaving and IN a studio in New York while U2 was recording.
Photo here is the album cover.