Nearly 1/4 Of iTunes Users Listened To U2 In January


Remember last September on your 3rd date with the cute boy from Starbucks, you decided to share your music taste? Big step, I know. It took guts. But he was so darn charming and hot, in a sweet way. And boy could he make a caramel macchiato. But you’re pretty darn confident in your music library. Perfectly curated. Impeccable playlisting. And above all, no filler. Or so you thought. Remember the shock on his face when he got to the U’s? And muttered those fateful words, “U2?” Shooting back a sarcastic “yeah right,” you didn’t quite realize that he was serious until he flipped the phone around to your face. BAM! Right there, in between Tyler, The Creator and UB40 (you know, if it went there that night) was U2. How?! Oh dear lord. As you could see the judgement settling in, you knew you were not going to reach a Red Red Wine infused 4th date.

U2, now so infamously, “gave away” their latest album Songs of Innocence to every iTunes user. It appeared in every iTunes library and on every iPhone – whether the user (500 million of them) liked it or not. It was nearly universally chastised by everyone in the industry. So much so that Bono came out and said “Oops, I’m sorry about that. I had this beautiful idea and we got carried away with ourselves.”

+Billboard Refuses to Recognize U2’s Latest Album… 

Well, 5 months later, people are still listening to it. Or rather, when their iPhone was set to shuffle, it landed on a U2 song accidentally. The study by the Kantar group states that 23% of the sampled 978 iOS users listened to U2 at least once in the month of January.

The press release issued by the PR group Nasty Little Man, and regurgitated by nearly every other music blog that has covered this, (incorrectly) summed up the study stating: “An independent study has concluded that U2 accounted for 23% of all music listened on iOS devices throughout January 2015.” Uh, that’s kind of different wouldn’t you say?

Of the 978 users sampled, 23% listened to U2 at least once. The 2nd and third place most listened to artists were Taylor Swift with 11% and Katy Perry with 8%. Maroon 5 also had 8% and Rihanna accounted for 7% of the sample user base.


Ari Herstand is a Los Angeles based singer/songwriter and the creator of the music biz advice blog, Ari’s Take. Follow him on Twitter: @aristake

5 Responses

  1. FarePlay

    What I learned about free.

    It may just be personal, but I’ve been a fan of the band since the first tine I saw them at a club in SF many years ago. Ordinarily, I would have been all over this last album, but it took me a couple of weeks before I listened to it. Now this may sound strange, but when I buy a CD from an artist whose work I value I have a different relationship to that music.

    Example. I’m a huge fan of Crowded House and Neil Finn. Last August I was in Portland Maine and shopped at Bull Moose Music and bought a bunch of CDs, including a new Neil Finn CD I wasn’t aware of. It took me five or ten listenings to find a handful of songs that I finally connected with, but at first listen the recording left me cold. I don’t seem to do that with free stuff.

    • Rock fan

      I have a different opinion, I loved all the new U2 songs, I’m a fan and thought it was a nice gesture giving me the songs for free. Of course the money that I would’ve spent on the album has now been used to buy U2 tour tickets (going to two shows, flight and hotel already booked… Can’t wait!!!)

  2. Name2

    “An independent study has concluded that U2 accounted for 23% of all music listened on iOS devices throughout January 2015.” Uh, that’s kind of different wouldn’t you say?

    Close enough for DMN.

  3. JessicaM

    “Most Read: I’m A ‘Music Journalist’ Who Thinks There’s A Woman Out There Who Likes Both Tyler, The Creator And UB40, And Here’s How Long It’s Been Since I’ve Gone On A Date”


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