Published Feb 24, 2015Last year, U2 caused a massive furor when their album Songs of Innocence was forcibly given to iTunes users, leading many to complain about the spam-like distribution and the band apologized for the "gross invasion." A new study has suggested, however, that the plan may have been successful after all, since U2 remain the most-listened-to band on iTunes.
The study was conducted by research firm Kantar Group, which determined that 23 percent of music listeners with iOS devices listened to at least one U2 song during the month of January 2015. That's more than double the number that listened to a song by Taylor Swift, who came in second place with 11 percent. Katy Perry was in third with 8 percent. Rounding out the Top 10 were Maroon 5, Rihanna, Beyoncé, Nicki Minaj, Imagine Dragons, Meghan Trainor and Drake.
Of the 23 percent that listened to U2, a whopping 95 percent of them listened to at least one track from Songs of Innocence. Not bad considering that the album came out back in September and didn't receive particularly good reviews.
Clearly U2 are happy at this news, especially since they previously explained that their release model for Songs of Innocence was inspired by a desire to ensure that the album was heard amidst all of the other goings-on in pop culture.
"This is fantastic news," frontman Bono said in a statement. "If these figures suggest that these songs still matter to people, then we're knocked out. That's all any songwriter wants."
Guitarist the Edge said, "We took a big risk but today we can say that the experiment worked."
It should be noted that Kantar got these results from a relatively small sample size. They drew on a panel of 2,510 iOS users, while the graphs seen here are based on a subset of 978. Given that U2 distributed their album to half a billion people, this represents a tiny fraction of the total people that received the album.