Uh.. yeah.. they should really be accounting for that.
Seriously, if you think this makes the statistics "flawed"... then you don't know anything about statistics.
Would you care to expand upon that statement at all? Are you implying that the research firm would know better and account for accidental plays or are you being sarcastic?
Let do some analysis here though:
"shows that nearly a quarter (24%) of all US music users on iOS devices in January listened to U2"
Could we get some delta on this? Is this an abnormal amount (what was it before the album release)? Does this account for the many users that just stick their iOS device on Shuffle?
"Kantar’s survey showed that nearly every iOS device user who listened to U2 in January 2015 – 95% – played at least one track from Songs Of Innocence."
Ok, so again, iOS users just set it to play U2, it will play songs from that album most likely at SOME point.
Really statistics like this would be poisoned due to the nature of how the album was pushed out to ALL users in the first place. This would be like trying to determine the number of AIDS victims in Africa by polling only the patients at an AIDS clinic, almost everyone has this album, most users can't be bothered to remove something from their lists, and most users just shuffle when they play. None of these were accounted for as far as I can tell, so why should we believe anything about this study at all?