In the last 15 minutes of the Apple Tuesday event, U2 began blasting in the auditorium, but it turned out to be more than just an impromptu concert -- it was pure hype for U2's newest album, "Songs of Innocence."
"How do we get it to as many people as possible? Because that's what we're all about," Bono asked of Apple chief Tim Cook. "I think you can help us."
"If you make it free," Cook countered. And in one fell swoop, Apple agreed to distribute the album to around 500 million iTunes users until mid-October, according to BusinessWeek. Cook called the giveaway "the biggest release in the history of music," but it's not the first time both Apple and U2 have partnered together -- both created a custom iPod, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The album will appear on the purchased page in the iTunes store, so users can click on it for a quick download. While this may seem like a windfall for Apple users, it's also a huge promotion for U2 and its recent album -- as well as its previous 12 albums. That's no mean feat, especially since U2's last few albums haven't sold as well as in the past.
The album wasn't exactly free. The WSJ reported that Universal Music Group apparently didn't offer wholesale prices for the 500 million albums but agreed to a "lump sum" from Apple for the giveaway. We don't know if the deal will count as sales on Billboard or qualify as multi-platinum status with the Recording Industry Association of America, but that likely wasn't a worry for U2. It just wanted the hype.