U2 aren't the only band who chose to release music in an unconventional way.
U2's decision to release their new album 'Songs of Innocence' for free yesterday took a lot of people by surprise. It's worth nothing, however, that they're not the first band to completely subvert the traditional means for releasing and album as we've seen by the following examples of the years:
Guns N' Roses (1991)
After waiting four long years for a follow-up to their groundbreaking album 'Appetite For Destruction', fans of Guns N' Roses were sent into a tailspin when it was announced that the band had recorded enough material for TWO albums which they would release . Interestingly, Use Your Illusion II sold slightly better than its twin.
Radiohead - 'In Rainbows' (2007)
It all began so simply. A brief message appeared on the Radiohead website from guitarist Jonny Greenwood, reading: "Hello everyone. Well, the new album is finished, and it's coming out in ten days." Finally free of record constricting recording contracts with Parlophone and Capitol Radiohead were, for the first time in a long time, in a position of freedom to decide how to release their music. What did they opt to do? The released the album digitally along with a "Pay What You Like" option, where fans could literally choose their price - even pay nothing at all. And how did it work out? They made more money from In Rainbows than from any other album in their discography.
Jay Z - 'Magna Carta Holy Grail' (2013)
Think U2 were the first band to bundle their music in with a tech company? Think again. Samsung Galaxy users were treated to an exclusive preview of the rapper's new album days ahead of the official release date thanks to an exclusive app available to 1 million users. A precedent was set however, as these units weren't allowed to be counted towards the record's Billboard chart position.
Beyonce - 'Beyonce' (2013)
Now this one took EVERYONE by surprise. Not only did Beyonce release a brand new album without any fanfare whatsoever, there was also a series of fully-produced music videos released in tandem with it. The fact that none of this was leaked ahead of time is remarkable, considering the hundreds of people who presumably had advance knowledge of it and firmly underlined Beyonce's stature as the biggest solo artist in music today.