Apple lets users delete free U2 album

After receiving a chorus of complaints about an unwanted gift, Apple has made it easier for users to delete the U2 album it gave to iTunes subscribers.

The tech giant didn't give a specific reason for the new tool.

Some users complained that the release was an intrusion into their privacy by being forced to have the addition to their music databases, which some hold as a personal part of the everyday lives. Others simply complained that they weren't a fan of the band and weren't able to find a way of erasing it from their iCloud accounts.

Apple's solution, released on Monday evening, is a Web link enabling users to sign in with their Apple ID and password before receiving a confirmation message that it has been removed. The link automatically removes the "Songs Of Innocence" album from the user's iTunes music library and purchase history. Users can later decide to change their minds and download it again but after Oct.13 they will have to pay for that privilege. Apple says that if subscribers manually downloaded the songs to the desktop version of iTunes or to the app on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, they'll need to manually delete them.

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Formed in Dublin in 1976 and famous for hits like "One", "Pride (In The Name Of Love)" and "Where the Streets Have No Name," the Irish band featuring rock icon Bono on lead vocals played a significant part in Apple's product launch last week in California. CEO Tim Cook introduced the band as surprise guests before they took the stage for a performance of a new song "The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone)." Cook and Bono then unveiled the news that the album of 11 tracks would automatically be free for the 500 million iTunes customers in 119 countries around the world.

Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

The band has previously worked with the U.S. tech giant and was a part of its promotions when it first launched the iTunes music platform in 2003. Apple has also worked with U2 on a special edition of its iPod digital music player and created "the complete U2" box set together.

Apple called it the largest album release ever with over half a billion copies distributed. In a letter posted on the band's website last week, Bono called the experience "mind-blowing."

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"Over 500 million people… that's a billion ears. And for the people out there who have no interest in checking us out, look at it this way… the blood, sweat and tears of some Irish guys are in your junk mail," he said.

Bono also revealed that Apple bought the new album as a gift for all their music customers, thus U2 would not be financially accountable for any poor response. On Tuesday, Apple's Senior Vice President Eddy Cue said 33 million iTunes account holders had "accessed" the album, according to The Associated Press.

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The album, the band's first studio album in five years, has received a fairly mixed response in the music media. Rolling Stone gave it a five star review and said it was "a triumph of dynamic, focused renaissance." The U.K.'s New Music Express publication said they had "devalued their own brand" and the fact that they were giving it away made it seem "cheap." Newsweek called the new album bland and said it was much less provocative than its release stunt.

—By CNBC's Matt Clinch