Eddy Cue, senior vp Internet software and services, said that the album has been “experienced” by more than 33 million people. “We wanted to thank our customers and share our love of music by gifting them Songs of Innocence,” he said in a statement. “Just six days after its release on iTunes, a record breaking 33 million people have already experienced the album.”
After a U2 performance during Apple’s Sept. 9 event, front man Bono took the stage with Apple CEO Tim Cook to announce that the album would be available for free exclusively via iTunes to the service’s 500 million account holders. Cook called it the “largest album release of all time.”
U2 and Apple have faced some backlash from iTunes users who felt that the album was foisted upon them because it was automatically uploaded to their iTunes accounts. Apple has since allowed users to delete the album from their accounts.
Since the album was automatically added to people’s iTunes library, Cue’s statement refers not to downloads but instead the number of people who have listened to the album via streaming or download since it’s launch.
Sept. 15, 3:52 p.m. Updated to include the number of iTunes account holders.