U2 Releases Free Album 'Songs of Innocence' at Apple Event

U2 performs at Apple announcement
Courtesy of Apple

U2 performs at Apple announcement where they annouce new U2 album "Songs of Innocence" on September 9, 2014.

"It's the largest album release of all time," Apple CEO Tim Cook says of the group's surprise album launch.

U2 has returned in stunning fashion: the legendary rock group has released a new album, Songs of Innocence, for free on iTunes, following its performance at the Apple event today (Sept. 9). The album is available for free to all iTunes users here.

After Apple CEO Tim Cook introduced the new iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus, as well as the new iWatch, Cook spoke of the tech company’s relationship with music before introducing U2 as a surprise guest. “Music runs deep in Apple's DNA, and runs through the core of all of our products,” said Cook. “Over that time we've built a deep relationship with the music industry and the artists that make it up … A decade ago we began a deep collaboration with one of the best bands of all time -- and that band is U2. They have agreed to perform for us today.”

Following a performance of new single “The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone),” U2 was greeted by Cook onstage, as well as a round of applause from those in attendance at the Flint Center in Cupertino, Calif. “Wasn’t that the most incredible single you’ve ever heard!” Cook gushed.

Apple Unveils Watch, Two New iPhones

U2 frontman Bono then joked about the band’s long-delayed follow-up to 2009’s No Line on the Horizon, saying that there were multiple albums recorded that didn’t quite cut it for the group. Bono said that he wanted U2’s new album, which was finished “as of this time last week,” to be “as good as our very best work.”

The album title was stated, and after some teasing questions (“How do we get this to as many people as possible?” Bono wondered aloud), Bono and Cook revealed that the album was being released to iTunes’ 500 million subscribers across 119 countries for free. The album, which Bono called “our most personal record,” will be exclusive to iTunes users through Oct. 13. Cook touted the surprise release as "the largest album release of all time."

'Beyonce,' Skrillex's 'Recess' & 10 Other Unexpected Album Releases

The presentation concluded with a new Apple advertisement featuring U2 performing "The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone)." The commercial harkens back to the classic 2004 iPod ad in which the band’s “Vertigo” was performed.

The surprise album announcement follows weeks of rumors that the band would announce its next project at the Apple event, as well as confirmation at the group's first album in five years would be arriving before the end of the year. "We hope to have it out some time this year, and to have [the music] shortly," Interscope chairman John Janick told Billboard in its Fall Album Preview.

According to, the album was recorded in Dublin, London, New York and Los Angeles, and its 11 tracks were largely produced by Danger Mouse, Paul Epworth and Ryan Tedder, with Declan Gaffney and Flood also contributing to the production. “Invisible,” a song U2 debuted in a Super Bowl commercial in February in partnership with Bank of America and (RED), does not appear on the Songs of Innocence track list.

Songs of Innocence will be released physically on Oct. 14 with a 24-page booklet. A deluxe edition with four additional tracks and an acoustic session of album tracks will be also released that day.


More to come...