Apple paid undisclosed sum to release U2's "Songs of Innocence" for free [u]

Posted:
in General Discussion edited March 2015
According to a report on Tuesday, Apple paid rock band U2 an unknown amount of money to distribute the group's latest "Songs of Innocence" LP to iTunes users free of charge, a gift to customers of the digital storefront.




As expected, Apple shelled out for the opportunity to give away a free copy of U2's Songs of Innocence to iTunes customers, a group that numbers nearly 500 million people, reports Time.

"We were paid," U2 frontman Bono said. "I don't believe in free music. Music is a sacrament."

He also alluded to a broken music charting system and an industry that has tried, but failed, to keep pace in a digital age. Ironically, Apple's iTunes nearly single-handedly brought about the seismic changes to which Bono refers.

The publication goes on to offer behind-the-scenes details of the iPhone 6 event aftermath. Bono reportedly chatted up longtime friend Jony Ive in the green room at Flint Center, who was joined by superstar designer -- and new Apple employee -- Marc Newson. A partnership was described between the three, with Bono referring to themselves as the "three amigos."

Apple CEO Tim Cook on Tuesday brought U2 to the stage for a performance as a follow-up to the "One more thing..." Apple Watch debut. Following the live session, Cook and Bono had a slightly uncomfortable -- and scripted -- back-and-forth that culminated in the announcement that iTunes would be giving away U2's album for free.

Update: A follow-up report by The Wall Street Journal provides additional details of the U2 tie-up. As part of the deal with Universal, Apple will use the single debuted today, "The Miracle (of Joey Ramone)," in a commercial blitz for the iPhone 6 and Apple Watch supposedly worth some $100 million. Further, Apple's iTunes, iTunes Radio and Beats Radio have a 25-day exclusive on the LP. U2's Songs of Innocence will be released on physical formats on Oct. 14, with the copies slated to include additional tracks.
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Comments

  • Reply 2 of 62
    It is a surprisingly good album. Quite a fabulous download for the price I paid! :D
  • Reply 3 of 62
    Wonder what this act of generosity is all about... Compensation for ugly iPhone 6 and iWatch designs?
  • Reply 4 of 62
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,969member

    Suffice it to say we’re probably talking 7 or 8 figures.

  • Reply 5 of 62
    Let's assume $10.50 per download? ????
  • Reply 6 of 62
    500 million copies at 9.99 equals about 4,995,000,000 or $5 billion but let's say the sale price is $6 it would be $3 billion. It just might be somewhere around there, marketing via U2 that's a an expense write-off.
  • Reply 7 of 62
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by superjunaid View Post



    500 million copies at 9.99 equals about 4,995,000,000 or $5 billion but let's say the sale price is $6 it would be $3 billion. It just might be somewhere around there, marketing via U2 that's a an expense write-off.

     

    It's not $9.99 per download to the artist. Apple takes a cut and I do not know what percentage that would be.

  • Reply 8 of 62

    For that much it seems like they could've gotten Bono to practice his lines for the reveal. Man that seemed like it took forever.

  • Reply 9 of 62
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    We already knew they were paid--Cook and Bono said so at the event.

    What we didn't know is that the amount was undisclosed!

    Kudos to Time for digging that detail up. And here I was believing I knew the number....
  • Reply 10 of 62
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,548member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jason98 View Post



    Wonder what this act of generosity is all about... Compensation for ugly iPhone 6 and iWatch designs?



    Most likely to see if giving something for free gives whiners like you something to b!tch about.  

  • Reply 11 of 62
    500 million copies at 9.99 equals about 4,995,000,000 or $5 billion but let's say the sale price is $6 it would be $3 billion. It just might be somewhere around there, marketing via U2 that's a an expense write-off.

    I doubt they would have calculated it that way. More likely would look at potential earnings for the LP if sold directly to customers and came to an agreed figure of how much to compensate as a result of giving it away for free. No idea what that figure would be but as no where near 500 million would have bought the album via iTunes I'm sure it would be a lot less than $3 billion.

    Still an expensive advertising endeavour though.
  • Reply 12 of 62
    mpantonempantone Posts: 1,375member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

     

    It's not $9.99 per download to the artist. Apple takes a cut and I do not know what percentage that would be.


    Correct. Plus the record label gets some dough. The artist probably makes a buck plus change per album. 

     

    Album sales isn't the chief source of revenue for a band like U2 anyhow. They make way more money on tour. On their last tour in 2011, U2 grossed $736 million in ticket sales. That doesn't even include a cut of the concessions, plus all the money they make from merchandise (which is biiiig).

     

    It's been said that Bruce Springsteen makes more money playing three shows at the Meadowlands than all of the royalties from his entire discography.

  • Reply 13 of 62
    Originally Posted by fastasleep View Post

    For that much it seems like they could've gotten Bono to practice his lines for the reveal. Man that seemed like it took forever.



    “I don’t believe in practicing lines. Ad lib is a sacrament.”

  • Reply 14 of 62
    "As expected"... Really? Time KNEW this ahead of the announcement? ????
  • Reply 15 of 62
    I'm a U2 fan, but the album does nothing for me. I'm also an Apple stockholder, and feeling the money might have been spent more wisely. But I'm no troll - I hope most people will like it more than I do (which won't be difficult).
  • Reply 16 of 62
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post

     

    Suffice it to say we’re probably talking 7 or 8 figures.


    Before or after the decimal point?

  • Reply 17 of 62
    I wonder if this was in some ways a big apology to guarantee them some free publicity for the drama that happened when Bono criticized Cook for not having Product Red prominent enough on Apple's site.
  • Reply 18 of 62
    They should have spent the money on their live streaming. Oh god, what clusterf*ck that was.but hey the Japanese dub was better than nothing.

    I kind of like the song they played. I could not figure out which song it was on the album when previewing in iTunes. More importantly I did not actually like the album. Oh well. Getting me a watch and probably an iPhones 6S Plus next year. :)
  • Reply 19 of 62
    First of all, you'd base the purchase off of U2's average sales per release. Then factor in the most recent releases in popularity and you would probably get a purchase for full price sales of 1 million new discs.

    They went Gold off of iTunes in their prior album [500k sales US] and Platinum in disc/album sales.

    So, you tell them 1-2 million purchases at around $9, per disc and you have $18 million they personally split amongst band members. Apple gets digital exclusivity and distributes to 500 million accounts.

    U2 makes most of its profits from concerts, get global visibility, FOR FREE, and sells out world wide.
  • Reply 20 of 62
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post



    First of all, you'd base the purchase off of U2's average sales per release. Then factor in the most recent releases in popularity and you would probably get a purchase for full price sales of 1 million new discs.



    They went Gold off of iTunes in their prior album [500k sales US] and Platinum in disc/album sales.



    So, you tell them 1-2 million purchases at around $9, per disc and you have $18 million they personally split amongst band members. Apple gets digital exclusivity and distributes to 500 million accounts.



    U2 makes most of its profits from concerts, get global visibility, FOR FREE, and sells out world wide.

     

    And I missed the detail first time through the article that U2 will also add additional tracks to the physical formats. So it sounds like more songs will be on the CD when it is released than what is being given away on iTunes. 

     

    Quote:

     U2's Songs of Innocence will be released on physical formats on Oct. 14, with the copies slated to include additional tracks.


     

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