Only five per cent of iTunes customers chose to download U2’s free ‘Songs Of Innocence’ album

Album is downloaded 26 million times as band talk-up 'Songs Of Experience' follow-up

Just five per cent of iTunes subscribers – 26 million people – have downloaded U2‘s album ‘Songs Of Innocence’ since Apple placed it on all their customers’ Apple devices such as iPhones, iPads and iPods on its release on September 9.

Although the figure is a small percentage of iTunes’ 500 million customers, it would still make ‘Songs Of Innocence’ rank in the Top 40 best-selling albums of all-time, in joint 32nd place alongside Britney Spears‘ 1999 album ‘…Baby One More Time’. The best-selling album ever is Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’, which has sold an estimated 60 million copies since its release in 1982.

Apple say that a total of 81 million people have “experienced” ‘Songs Of Innocence’, by either downloading some of its songs or streaming them. Vice-President Eddy Cue told Billboard: “To help put this into perspective, prior to this, 14 million customers had purchased U2 music since the iTunes store opened in 2003.”

Monday (October 13) sees the release of an expanded version of the album, featuring an extra 10 songs: new tracks ‘Lucifer’s Hands’ and ‘The Crystal Ballroom’, a Tchad Blake remix of ‘Sleep Like A Baby Tonight’, an alternative version of ‘The Troubles’ and six acoustic versions of ‘Songs Of Innocence’ tracks.

U2 have previously revealed that they hope to shortly release a companion album, ‘Songs Of Experience’. In a new interview, Bono told The Sun: “When the second album is out, the first will take on whole new proportions. There’s a lot of cross-talk between the older singer on ‘Songs Of Experience’ and the younger singer of ‘Songs Of Innocence’. It gets really interesting.”

Bono added that he doesn’t approve of Britain’s attitude of “eating its own” successful artists. He said: “Mumford and Sons are not well-regarded in the UK. In America, they are. They’re unarguably great songwriters and performers. The UK’s got to stop eating its own. Stick to eating the Irish, because we can take it.”