As the NSA will tell you, it costs a lot of money to do creepy and invasive things to people’s computers. In the case of Songs of Innocence, the free U2 album that Apple placed in everyone’s iTunes accounts, that price tag was upwards of $100 million — which is reportedly how much Apple spent to market the album so that people would actually listen to it. (Apple also paid U2 an undisclosed fee. “We’re not going in for the free music around here,” Bono said at Tuesday’s launch event.)
Apple, of course, has $160 billion in cash reserves, which means that if it really wanted to, the company could put out a free U2 album a week for the next 30 years.