The controversial way that Apple offered a free new album from U2 in September didn't stop a ton of people from downloading it. In an interview this week, Eddy Cue, Apple's senior VP of internet software and services, said that the Songs of Innocence album has been downloaded 26 million times in full on iTunes since its release on September 9.

In addition, Cue told Billboard that 81 million people have heard songs from the U2 album since its release on Apple's services, including iTunes, iTunes Radio and Beats Music. He added, "Prior to this, 14 million customers had purchased music from U2 since the opening of the iTunes Store in 2003."

The free ride for Songs of Innocence is over on October 14. That's when a physical CD will go on sale with 10 extra tracks that are not part of the free iTunes release. Are you happy or sad the free download will end in a few days?

Source: Billboard