Irish rock band U2 has a novel plan of attack for the deadly AIDS epidemic in Africa: giving away music for free.
The band will release its new single, "Invisible," on iTunes as it debuts the song in a commercial during the Super Bowl on February 2.
From that moment, the song will be free to download for the next 24 hours, with an extra bonus. For each of the song's first two million downloads, Bank of America will donate a dollar to (RED), an AIDS charity co-founded by U2 front man Bono. The bank is also pledging a guaranteed $8 million to the charity for a total of $10 million to the fund.
Bono and Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan announced the partnership from the World Economic Forum in Davos on Thursday.
But then, a small game of viral giving ensured. The Gates Foundation heard about the plan before the news was released and added its support, matching Bank of America's total $10 million donation, dollar-for dollar. Then German software company SAP tacked on a million, as did the the Motsepes, a wealthy South African mining family The total amount of the gift now stands at $22 million.
Since Bono started (RED) with activist Bobby Shriver at Davos six years ago, the $240 million (RED) has raised has gone toward preventing and treating AIDS in eight African countries—Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania and Zambia.