U2's 'Songs of Innocence' Not Eligible For Next Grammys

Joe Pugliese
U2

The iTunes-exclusive album's 'commercial' release date misses the 57th Grammy Awards' Sept. 30 eligibility period deadline.

Despite the introduction at Tuesday's iPhone unveiling as the most Grammy Award-winning band in history, U2's surprise album Songs of Innocence will not be eligible for the next Grammy Awards. 

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That's because even though U2's new set is now available as a free download to iTunes Store account holders and for streaming on Beats Music, just as its Billboard chart debut is postponed to the official Oct. 14 commercial release date so too is its Grammy eligibility. And with the 57th Grammy Awards' eligibility period closing Sept. 30, Songs of Innocence misses that deadline and will have to wait until next year's Grammy Awards. 

"The album must be commercially available in order for it to be eligible, and the official release date determines its eligibility in a particular awards year," a Grammys rep told Billboard. "In this case, the album is commercially available on Oct. 14, 2014, so it will be eligible for consideration for the 58th Grammy Awards." 

Those deadline terms apply to all entries. The source explained, "All entries -- singles, tracks, albums -- must be commercially released, nationally distributed and available from any date within the eligibility period." 

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With iTunes' exclusive rights to the release for more than a month, U2 has received an undisclosed sum as part of the deal and two sources familiar with deal terms told Billboard that Apple will spend in excess of $100 million on an ad campaign supporting the project that will include lead single "The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone)."  

A source close to the band reached by Billboard Tuesday was unaware of the Grammy detail, and hoped to start a dialogue with the Academy on Wednesday. "We’re celebrating this moment, and tomorrow we’ll figure out what this means," said the source.

"Invisible," another single the band released earlier this year as part of a Super Bowl campaign with Bank of America and (RED), would technically be eligible for Grammy consideration, however.