Three weeks ago Bono apologised for the free iTunes giveaway of U2’s album. But now, he’s rescinded on that apology – backtracked on the backtrack, if you will – saying that the rollout of Songs of Innocence is “one of the proudest things for us ever”.

Bono now says that the free Songs of Innocence release made him very proud

In an interview with Billboard, he explained the reason behind the decision: "We always wanted our music to be heard, and the idea that we could have worked for years and years [on] what we think are the most personal songs that we have ever written - and you have to become very raw to write like that - only then for them maybe not to be heard was terrifying.”

“So we were just thrilled that we got a chance to introduce ourselves to people who weren't fans of listening to rock music, or people that listen to Bhangra in India, or whatever, all around the world.

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Back in September, U2 and tech giants Apple unveiled a joint collaboration, simultaneously launching the iPhone 6 and the Irish band’s thirteenth studio album in a free rollout in support of that. However, the album automatically downloaded to iTunes account holders’ playlists, which precipitated a lot of negative feedback on social media.

In a Facebook Q&A session a few weeks after the release, Bono had appeared contrite, saying "Oops. I'm sorry about that. I had this beautiful idea and we got carried away with ourselves. Artists are prone to that kind of thing. Drop of megalomania, touch of generosity, dash of self-promotion.”

Just 5% of iTunes account holders downloaded the album that had been placed on listeners’ devices, which doesn’t sound too impressive until you realise that’s 5% of 500 million customers. In mid-October, U2 eventually released Songs of Innocence in a traditional physical format, and it still charted at number 6 in the UK and number 9 in the States.

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