Apple CEO Tim Cook, left, with Irish rock band U2 as he speaks during an Apple event announcing the iPhone 6 and the Apple Watch at the Flint Center in Cupertino, Calif., in September 2014.
Stephen Lam – Reuters
By Laura Lorenzetti
September 16, 2014

Apple has released software that will wipe U2’s new album from customers’ iTunes accounts.

Six days ago, Apple gave the new album away for free. U2 took to the stage after the company announced two new iPhones and a new Apple Watch and promoted its new album “Songs of Innocence.” The tracks were then uploaded to Apple’s nearly 500 million music customers in 119 countries.

The automatic gift sparked complaints from many users that the music was downloaded to their devices without permission.

Apple (AAPL) has since released a new one-click removal button that will allow the tracks to be automatically wiped from an account.

Customers are warned that they have only until Oct. 13 to get the tracks for free if they are deleted. After that, they will have to pay for the 11 tracks if they try to add them again.

U2 lead signer Bono noted on the band’s site the day of the release that everyone might not appreciate the gift.

“For the people out there who have no interest in checking us out,” he said. “Look at it this way … the blood, sweat and tears of some Irish guys are in your junk mail.”

Apple paid for the giveaway, Bono added. The company’s promotion extended to prime banner ad placement promoting the album on the iTunes store.

The publicity seems to have helped U2 more than hurt it. The band’s previous albums have re-entered the iTunes sales charts ahead of its expected tour.

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