Last month, 23 percent of iOS users—of which there are more than 400 million worldwide—listened to at least one U2 track, a new study by British market research firm Kantar Group claims. Of that group, 95 percent listened to a track from the new album. That means that approximately 92 million people, more than the entire population of Egypt, have listened to Bono warbling about how love is like the heartbeat of a wave or whatever so far in 2015. What percentage of those listens consisted of people opening their iTunes, saying, “What the hell is this?,” clicking on Songs Of Innocence, and then closing the program immediately is unknown, and, apparently, unaccounted for.
According to the study, that number is more than double the percentage that listened to the second most popular artist, Taylor Swift, who clocked in at 11 percent of all iOS listens and also didn’t sneak into people’s software and deposit her new album without asking. Rounding out the top five are Katy Perry (8 percent), Maroon 5 (8 percent), and Rihanna (7 percent).
Without knowing how many of those listens were actually failed attempts to delete U2’s new album, it’s hard to take this data at face value. But the band is doing just that: “If these figures suggest that these songs still matter to people, then we’re knocked out. That’s all any songwriter wants,” Bono says in a press release, apparently forgetting that he had to apologize for the album’s delivery system in October. “In the end we just wanted people to hear the album. We took a big risk but today we can say that the experiment worked,” The Edge adds. Based on this reaction, you can presumably expect U2’s new album to crawl into your bed in the middle of the night and start spooning you sometime next year.