No pro bono: Apple spent $100 million for 'free' U2 Album


Who doesn't like getting free stuff? Apparently, iTunes users, when, without consent, Apple simply made U2's new album a part of their music libraries. But Songs of Innocence isn't entirely free. At least between Apple and Bono, with reports saying the company paid U2 $100 million for the band's newest effort.

U2 startled the world when it released their first album since 2009, Songs of Innocence, as what appeared to be a gift from Apple. After performing at the company's press conference revealing the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, Bono and CEO Tim Cook made the announcement.

Though dubbed free, U2's album is only free of charge to iTunes users. To Apple? Bringing Bono and the rest of the band on board reportedly cost $100 million. And that's just for the album's marketing campaign. Apple apparently also paid U2 and Universal an undisclosed amount for blanket royalty.

Not that a few hundred millions fazes Apple.

For the third fiscal quarter of the year, Apple registered quarterly revenues of $37.4 billion, with net profits at $7.7 billion. That quarter lasted for 91 days, which means Apple had net profits of $84,615,384.62 a day. The company just needed a little over a day to cough up the money it sent U2's way. Distributing 500 million copies of an album digitally? Just all in a day's work for Apple.

Not to mention the company has $164 billion in cash. It could easily pay U2 that $100 million without batting an eyelash.

So what does $100 million get Apple?

At the very least, marketing campaigns for Songs of Innocence will heavily include tie-ins with Apple products. From billboards to TV spots, it won't be surprising if the company pushed its products just as hard as U2's new album.

Songs of Innocence is 48 minutes and 11 seconds long. It contains 11 tracks (15 in the deluxe edition), with "The Miracle (of Joey Ramone)" as the first single. U2 worked on the album for two years, collaborating with producer Danger Mouse, Flood, Ryan Tedder, and Paul Epworth.

"We wanted to make a very personal album. Let's try to figure out why we wanted to be in a band, the relationships around the band, our friendships, our lovers, our family. The whole album is first journeys - first journeys geographically, spiritually, sexually. And that's hard. But we went there," explained Bono in an interview about the album.

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