Six years ago Apple and U2 upset people by giving them something for free

Tim Cook And Bono touching fingers
Tim Cook And Bono touching fingers (Image credit: CNN)

What you need to know

  • September 9, 2014, was a big day for Apple.
  • U2 fans probably remember it as well.
  • And the world got angry because everyone got a free album.

September 9, 2014, is a day I still don't understand. It was a day when people in 119 countries were given a free U2 album and they all seemingly got very angry about it.

Tim Cook and Bono touched fingers on a stage, too. It was totally awks. To this day I don't know why they did it. But it seemed planned, so who knows. Someone probably thought it was a good idea.

It wasn't.

The video takes you straight to the correct timestamp to avoid the ramblings of a man in a leather jacket. Wearing sunglasses. Inside.

You're welcome.

For those new to the scene, I'm talking about Apple's decision to gift U2's new "Songs of Innocence" album to everyone with an iTunes account. That's a ton of people and to this day they continue to whine about it. Yes, you really can give people free stuff and have them complain. I wonder how those people are dealing with 2020 right now.

Here's what Apple had to say at the time.

Apple, Universal Music Group and legendary rock band U2 today announced the release of the album "Songs of Innocence," which Apple is gifting to iTunes Store customers around the world, making it the largest album release ever with over half a billion copies distributed. The album features 11 new songs from the band and charts their earliest influences from 70s rock and punk rock to early 80s electronica and soul. The album is free for iTunes Store account holders in 119 countries and is available exclusively on iTunes for the next five weeks.

The real problem people seemed to have was the fact the album automatically appeared on everyone's iDevices. People were so mad that Apple had to share details on how to remove their freebie from devices.

What a time to be alive 2014 was. And you think we have problems now!

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.