Back in October when U2’s new album Songs of Innocence hitched a ride on every new iPhone, the blowback was so loud even Bono got humble and admitted fear. “I had this beautiful idea,” the singer said then about giving away the album on iPhones/iTunes. “Might have gotten carried away with ourselves. Artists are prone to that thing. A drop of megalomania, a touch of generosity, a dash of self-promotion, and deep fear that these songs that we poured our life into over the last few years might not be heard.”
But it turns out Bono’s beautiful idea was a good one–or at least a successful one, despite the initial bad PR. “Might not be heard”? Fuggedaboutit. Research firm Kantar reports that “twenty-three percent of all music users on Apple’s operating system listened to at least one U2 track in January–more than twice the percentage who listened to the second-placing artist, Taylor Swift (11%).” So it worked–people listened. Lots of them. People, you may have heard, sometimes say one thing and do another.