“Songs of Innocence” – U2 [iTunes Album Stream + Apple Performance]

Apple's annual September event was held earlier today, and one of the biggest surprises came from U2. The Irish pop-rock crew released a surprise album, Songs of Innocence, which is available now as a free stream on iTunes until the album's official release on October 13, and they performed the leadoff track from the album, "The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone)," after being introduced by Apple CEO Tim Cook. Here's a crowd-sourced video of the performance on YouTube:

There's also a short promotional video on Apple's YouTube channel:

"Songs of Innocence" is currently available on Apple's recent acquisition, Beats, but not on competitor Spotify. The album will come pre-loaded on new iPhones, which is similar to what Jay Z did with his Magna Carta... Holy Grail album last year -- but without the over-the-top data grab, social media marketing, and public sales figure.

Earlier this year, Billboard incorrectly reported that U2's album would be postponed to 2015. It's also interesting to note that U2 released a single earlier this year, "Invisible," which doesn't end up on this album.

U2.com has more information about "Songs of Innocence," including production credits:

Songs of Innocence was recorded in Dublin, London, New York and Los Angeles and is produced by Danger Mouse, along with Paul Epworth, Ryan Tedder, Declan Gaffney and Flood. The album closes with 'The Troubles' featuring the distinctive vocals of Swedish indie singer-songwriter Lykke Li.

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On October 13th the physical release of Songs of Innocence comes with a 24-page booklet. A deluxe, gatefold double album, contains an acoustic session of songs from the album and four additional tracks: Lucifer's Hands, The Crystal Ballroom, The Troubles (Alternative version) and Sleep Like a Baby Tonight (Alternative Perspective Mix by Tchad Blake)

Other big news (although not directly related to the music industry) included the unveiling of the iPhone 6 and the Apple Watch.

For U2's latest music, news, and tour dates, check out their Zumic artist page.