The stadium rockers pull a Beyoncé.

It’s Apple Announcement Day, and along with details of the new iPhone, the tech giant is gifting iTunes users with a free album by U2. The event is being billed as the “Biggest Album Release Ever in History,” as half a billion users will have access to the album.

“From the very beginning U2 have always wanted our music to reach as many people as possible, the clue is in our name I suppose—so today is kind of mind-blowing to us. The most personal album we’ve written could be shared with half a billion people… by hitting send. If only songwriting was that easy,” said (who else?) Bono.

“It’s exciting and humbling to think that people who don’t know U2 or listen to rock music for that matter might check us out. Working with Apple is always a blast. They only want to do things that haven’t been done before—that’s a thrill to be part of.”

The 11-track Songs of Innocence will be available for free download on iTunes for five weeks. It was produced by Danger Mouse, alongwith Paul Epworth, Ryan Tedder, Declan Gaffney and Flood. Fire up iTunes and grab it now.

Update: After a week of public backlash, Apple has responded with a special link that will remove Songs of Innocence from your account.

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