Rumors have been flying for the better part of the week, and now it's confirmed — Tim Cook just name-dropped U2 on stage and the band is jumping on stage now to perform a new song entitled "The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone)" from its brand-new album Songs of Innocence. After performing, Bono joked that the band has made "several albums" in the last few years but hadn't made one that it felt was worth releasing — until today.
Now, the band is using Apple's event to officially announce Songs of Innocence — and the band is releasing it today, exclusively on iTunes, for free. It's very much like Beyonce's surprise album release last December, though with the notable difference that it is for free. If you have an iTunes Store account, it'll show up today in 119 countries, and it'll be exclusive to iTunes and Beats Music through October 13th. Anyone who signs up to the iTunes Store in the next five weeks will receive a copy, as well. Indeed, the album is already showing up in the "purchased" section of iTunes users just moments after the announcement.
Rumors of the band's involvement started last week, when a few Irish reporters tweeted about U2 making a video as well as the possibility of the group's forthcoming album being released alongside the iPhone 6. A spokesperson for the band quickly quashed those rumors, but they re-emerged in force last night when The New York Times claimed the band would be performing and partnering with Apple for some sort of new album promotion.
U2 and Apple have a longstanding relationship that goes back to at least 2004, when Apple released a limited-edition U2 iPod at the same time as the band's album How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb hit stores. Lead singer Bono also created the Project Red charity, of which Apple has been a partner since its inception in 2006.