Irish rockers U2 are secretly working with Apple bosses to create a revolutionary new digital music format which they are convinced will bring an end to piracy.

The Beautiful Day hitmakers recently teamed up with the tech giant to give all iTunes customers a free download of their new album, Songs of Innocence, but now frontman Bono has revealed there is much more to the band's relationship with Apple.

In a new Time magazine article, the singer has detailed the group's plans to help combat the illegal downloading of artists' music by creating a new file format which cannot be copied.

The aim of the top secret project is to tempt fans to purchase full albums, not just individual tracks, once more so new material will once again become profitable for artists who aren't big on touring.

Bono explains, "Songwriters aren't touring people. (Late composer/songwriter) Cole Porter wouldn't have sold T-shirts. Cole Porter wasn't coming to a stadium near you."

He continues, "(It's) an audiovisual interactive format for music that can't be pirated and will bring back album artwork in the most powerful way, where you can play with the lyrics and get behind the songs when you're sitting on the subway with your iPad or on these big flat screens. You can see photography like you've never seen it before."

However, Bono admits the project is still in development and is at least "18 months away" from becoming available to the public.