'I can't believe U2 kept the album secret' - former manager Paul McGuinness
U2's former manager Paul McGuinness has said that it was "extraordinary" that the band were able to keep the release of their new album under wraps.
His comments come as U2 released their first record since 2009 as a free download for more than 500 million Apple iTunes subscribers.
"I thought the way they released Songs of Innocence was absolutely brilliant.
"It is an extraordinary event to release music this way and I can't believe they managed to keep it a secret until they did it.
"To be able to say: 'We're releasing the new album in five seconds' and there it was on the iTunes library of 500 million subscribers is just incredible," he told Newstalk.
Songs of Innocence will be free to download on iTunes until October when the hard copies will go on sale, but Paul insists that U2 are not giving music away for free.
"I think you have to read the detail of this deal," he continued.
"Bono has an interview in Time magazine this week and he points out that their music is not free. I don't think he would ever condone giving music away.
"It might be free for the consumer but not for Apple, they would have paid a very high price for them to do that so it's not really free," he added.
Paul, who was U2's manager until last year, believes that Ireland should be proud of U2's achievements.
"People forget that U2 have been the world's champions of music for over 20 years now and while it may become routine, there's no reason not to be very proud of it."
The 63-year-old also thinks that U2 will be on tour with their new material by next year.
"I think we can expect a new U2 tour starting next summer. It will be what everyone expects from U2: ground breaking, unique and world beating," he said.