I got mine!!

New U2 Album Downloaded Over 200,000 Times on First Day

The new U2 album got off to a decent start Tuesday. Following Apple’s press event and a live announcement that Apple is giving away Songs of Innocence to all 500 million iTunes account holders, U.S. iTunes users downloaded the album about 200,000 times, sources tell Billboard.

The 11-track Songs of Innocence is available to iTunes account holders in all 119 countries where iTunes is available. While Apple makes the claim that “over half a billion copies” are being “distributed,” in reality not all account holders are likely to experience the album. Apple places Songs of Innocence on a user’s “purchased” list, where the files can either be streamed or manually uploaded. Some consumers may choose to stream the album elsewhere. Apple’s Beats Music subscription service and iTunes Radio streaming service also have the album exclusively.

Looking forward, the question is how many units the album will sell when it’s available to other retailers and digital services once Apple’s five-week exclusive expires. Sources around the industry estimate the album would have achieved first-week sales between 450,000 and 500,000 units in a normal release. One source at Universal Music Group tells Billboard that the current working number for first-week sales is 150,000 units.

U2 and Universal Music Group will face some hurdles due to disgruntled retailers, however. Sources say Target has a policy of not carrying any title that was first released to digital retail. Target refused to initially carry Beyonce’s self-titled album following her surprise iTunes exclusive, and Amazon withheld the usual prime page placement. To entice retailers, Universal is offering four tracks that iTunes will not have until November, according to sources. Some retailers could walk away with more tracks, as sources say Universal has three additional tracks for select retailers.

The awareness surrounding the Apple giveaway and related advertising efforts could be a financial boon to U2’s catalog. As such, Universal is said to be planning the most aggressive catalog program it has ever executed for U2. The band’s catalog has already been sale-priced at iTunes and is promoted as “limited-time pricing” on the iTunes Music Store home page. Studio albums are $5.99, live albums and collections are $7.99, and deluxe studio albums are priced at $11.99.