That U2 Apple stunt wasn’t the disaster you might think it was

Remember U2’s album giveaway with Apple at the end of last summer? And how the world seemed to become very annoyed that its contents had been ‘pushed’ to their devices without permission?

Well, the naysayers might have been loud – but that hasn’t stopped the stunt having a lasting effect on the band’s popularity.

That’s according to new research from retail insight experts Kantar in the US, which shows that nearly a quarter (24%) of all US music users on iOS devices in January listened to U2, five months after Songs Of Innocence was released for free onto 500m iPhones across the world.


In a survey of iOS users, Kantar found that more than twice the percentage of people listened to U2 in January than listened to the second-placed artist, Taylor Swift (11%).

So dominant were the complaints over Apple pushing Songs Of Innocence to people’s phones, Bono was moved to apologise, blaming “a drop of megalomania, touch of generosity, dash of self-promotion and deep fear that these songs that we poured our life into over the last few years mightn’t be heard”.

But having seen the new survey, the band are a little more upbeat. Said guitarist The Edge in a statement: “It’s nice to know that five months on so many people have discovered Songs of Innocence.

“In the end we just wanted people to hear the album. We took a big risk, but today we can say that the experiment worked.”

Kantar’s survey showed that nearly every iOS device user who listened to U2 in January 2015 – 95% – played at least one track from Songs Of Innocence.

The results were derived from a Kantar panel of 2,510 iOS users in the US, and a subset of 978 iOS-user panelists who listened to any music in January 2015.Music Business Worldwide

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