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The secret reason Apple is giving U2’s album away for free… and how to get it

Updated Sep 11th, 2014 11:23AM EDT
U2 Songs of Innocence Free Download

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It turns out that most of the U2 rumors were true, Apple did invite U2 to perform on stage during the iPhone 6 event and the band’s latest album will be available as a free download to iTunes users for about a month. Did Apple do it just because it has a special relationship with the band? Business Insider thinks it has figured out the secret reason for Apple’s decision to pay for the all the free U2 album downloads that will take place through October 13.

FROM EARLIER: Regardless of denials, a musical surprise is coming to the iPhone 6 launch event

The free download is not related to any Apple product purchase in any way, as it was previously believed. Users simply have to log into iTunes to get the album without any hassles, regardless of whether they actually own any Apple hardware at all.

Apple has well over 800 million registered iTunes accounts complete with payment data, but the company might be trying to further increase its iTunes numbers as it gets ready to roll out Apple Pay, its wireless payments solution for iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and Apple Watch.

iTunes accounts are an integral part of this new business, with Apple having already revealed that credit cards stored in iTunes can be easily be added to Apple Pay.

So, to download U2’s album for free, you need to register an iTunes account – if you don’t have one – and you can also add a credit card, or payment option, to it in the process. In the future, that account might be used for anything Apple related, as soon as you get either a Mac, an iOS device or a smartwatch, but even without purchasing Apple hardware. iTunes still works on Windows, offering users access to plenty of content, that can be easily purchased and instantly enjoyed – Apple gets a share of those purchases as well.

In other words, Apple has plenty of reasons to want to increase its iTunes base, with Apple Pay being just one of them.

According to a recent report from Bloomberg, Apple will receive a fee for every Apple Pay transaction, which means the company will get a share of the more than $40 billion banks generate each year from credit card transactions.

Meanwhile, downloading U2’s “Song of Innocence” album from iTunes is easy as pie. All you have to do is log into iTunes, search for the album if it’s not already on the front page, and download it to your device free of charge – to make it even easier, all you have to do is follow this link to get directly to the album in iTunes.

UPDATE: Meanwhile, U2’s album should already show up in everyone’s iTunes accounts, and even on iOS devices, depending on their iCloud settings. Furthermore, some of our readers have pointed out that creating a new account without adding a payment option is possible, and thus downloading the album does not require a new user to add his or her payment information. While that’s true, as long as Apple gets you to create an iTunes account, its job is half done, as it still gets more subscribers, many of whom may very well spend more money inside iTunes in the future.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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