Songs of Innocence is the thirteenth studio album by Irish rock band U2. Released on 9 September 2014, it was produced by Danger Mouse, with additional production from Paul Epworth, Ryan Tedder, Declan Gaffney and Flood. The album was announced at an Apple Inc. keynote event and released the same day to all iTunes Store customers at no cost. It will be exclusive to iTunes, iTunes Radio, and Beats Music until 13 October 2014, when it will receive a physical release by Island Records. The digital release made the record available to over 500 million iTunes customers, for what Apple CEO Tim Cook marketed as "the largest album release of all time".
Songs of Innocence was U2's first album since No Line on the Horizon (2009), marking the longest gap between studio albums of U2's career. During the five-and-a-half year gestation period, the band recorded a variety of material with several producers, but struggled to complete an album to their satisfaction and continually delayed a release. On several occasions, lead singer Bono expressed uncertainty over how U2 could remain musically relevant after the relatively lukewarm commercial performance of No Line on the Horizon. Thematically, the record revisits the group members' youth in Ireland, paying tribute to musical inspirations Ramones and The Clash, while touching on childhood experiences, loves and regrets. Bono described it as a collection of "first journeys" and "the most personal album we've written".
The album's lead single, "The Miracle (of Joey Ramone)", is featured in an Apple television commercial as part of a promotional campaign for the band on which the company is reportedly spending $100 million. Approximately 33 million users were reported to have accessed the album during the first week of its release. Although the album has received generally favourable reviews, critics and consumers have been critical of the roll-out strategy, which involved automatically adding the album to users' iTunes accounts without their consent.
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