Free U2 album: How the most generous giveaway in music history turned into a PR disaster

A free album on iTunes: what could possibly go wrong? Quite a lot, as U2 and Apple have discovered

Adam Sherwin writes: “Wasn’t that the most incredible single you ever heard?,” enthused Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, after U2 made a surprise appearance at the California unveiling of the iPhone 6. “We would love a whole album of that.”

But the backlash prompted by Apple’s decision to install a new U2 album, Songs of Innocence, directly into the library of 500 million iTunes subscribers, suggests that lasting damage may be inflicted upon the two allied “superbrands”

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