Imagine it's the year 1987. You drag yourself out of bed, ready to face another routine day at the office or school. You head outside to grab the morning paper, quickly flip through the sports scores then head for the entertainment section. And there it is. A huge advertisement in big bold letters: "U2 RELEASING BRAND NEW ALBUM 'THE JOSHUA TREE' TODAY AND IT'S FREE!!!!"

Impossible then but a reality in 2014. Not even Doc Brown with his DeLorean time machine could have seen this one coming.

This Tuesday morning the internet was buzzing with the news that U2 is giving away their brand new album called "Songs Of Innocence" for free until October 13th through iTunes only.

For years ideas on how to stop the flooding of illegal downloads have been thrown around and some have even been executed. Prince was one of the first if not the first to include a new cd with every concert ticket sold. Tom Petty has done the same with his most recent album "Hypnotic Eye".

Back in 2012 I remember reading an article which quoted Lars Ulrich of Metallica pondering the idea of hiding copies of Metallica's next album somewhere in every ZIP code across the United States, urging fans to go and find them. Artists and record companies have been discussing ideas like this for years. Now it seems as if U2 and Apple may be on to something legitimate.

Many are wondering why would Apple give away the album for free. The promotion does not require that you buy an iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, or an Apple Watch. In fact, it doesn’t seem to have any link at all to their latest product announcements. One theory from a few business websites I've read is that the more people Apple can get into its iTunes system, the more credit card numbers it is likely to collect from them. The more credit card numbers it has, the more attractive Apple’s new mobile payments system, Apple Pay becomes to those users.

As for U2 you may be wondering what's in it for them outside of the obvious free publicity this story has gotten them. According to a The New York Times article the deal that led to the free release was carefully negotiated between U2 and some of the most powerful entities in music, including Apple; Universal, the band’s label; and Guy Oseary, U2’s new manager. Oseary works in the management division of Live Nation Entertainment, the global concert conglomerate.

To release U2’s album free, Apple paid the band and Universal an unspecified fee as a blanket royalty and committed to a marketing campaign for the band worth up to $100 million. That marketing will include a global television campaign, the first piece of which was a commercial that was shown during the event.

Now it's time for you to tell us what you think:

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