NEW YORK (AFP) - U2, who faced mockery for sending their album for free to iTunes' half billion users, are back with a new experiment - a film version by leading urban artists.
Films of Innocence will feature motion pictures by 11 artists known for work in city spaces. The Irish band said the artists were given "complete creative freedom to showcase their personal responses" to the album Songs of Innocence.
"Taking the political murals of Northern Ireland as a reference point, U2 pioneered the project to celebrate the unique democratic power of urban art," said an announcement of the project on iTunes.
And this time, the work won't be free. The iTunes site said that Films of Innocence will cost US$12.99 (S$16.85) and come out on Dec 9.
Artists who took part in the project include Robin Rhode, the South African artist who uses simple but falsely three-dimensional drawings as the base for street performances, and Oliver Jeffers, a Belfast native best known for his illustrations of children's books.
Street life has been a running theme for U2 from classic hit Where the Streets Have No Name to the latest album, in which frontman Bono repeatedly conjures up imagery from his boyhood.
U2 announced the free release of Songs of Innocence as part of a promotion campaign for Apple's new iPhone 6.
Bono initially hailed the move as an innovative way to share his music with the widest possible audience, but he later apologized and blamed what he called both his ego and generosity.
While many U2 fans welcomed the free album, Apple received so many complaints that it offered special advice on how users could delete it.
Some fellow artists have been especially harsh, saying that the superstars devalued music. Fellow Irish singer Sinead O'Connor, speaking recently to Britain's Daily Mail, called U2's move an invasion of privacy that was "almost terrorist".
U2 had planned to play all week in New York on NBC television's The Tonight Show to promote the album, but cancelled after Bono injured his arm in a bicycling accident in Central Park.