Sources tell Billboard that, following Apple's press event on Sept. 9, when the company announced it was giving away U2's new album Songs of Innocence to all 500 million iTunes account holders, the collection was downloaded about 200,000 times in the United States. A Universal Music Group spokesman says the number "is completely inaccurate." Not being debated is that the the new album got off to a decent start.
The 11-track Songs of Innocence is available to iTunes account holders in all 119 countries where iTunes is available. While Apple makes the claim that "over half a billion copies" are being "distributed," in reality not all account holders are likely to experience the album. Apple places Songs of Innocence on a user's "purchased" list, where the files can either be streamed or manually uploaded. Some consumers may choose to stream the album elsewhere. Apple's Beats Music subscription service and iTunes Radio streaming service also have the album exclusively.