U2 album leaks despite unprecedented secrecy campaign

U2's latest album, No Line on the Horizon, has joined the thousands of releases each year that find their way onto file-sharing sites before they make it to the shops--this despite an unprecedented secrecy campaign coordinated by the band's manager Paul McGuinness.

McGuinness, who has recently blamed Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and everyone else who shares the "hippy values" of Silicon Valley for growing rich off of piracy, had hoped that he could spare U2's new album from a "premature" release. No advance copies of the CD were sent out to reviewers. Instead, McGuinness organised a massive campaign of "private listening" parties where journalists and music reviewers were invited to hear the album, after having had any possible recording devices--including mobile phones--removed from their persons.

Techdirt speculates that this will have meant that fewer reviewers will have had the opportunity to hear the album prior to its release. It is also possible that the lack of trust in reviewers shown by U2's management will leave a negative impression in their minds. So, fewer reviews will be available to the public prior to the album's official release, and those reviews that do appear may not be as "positive" as they otherwise would have been: even if the reviewers are not consciously letting themselves be affected by the way they have been treated, it is probably impossible for them not to be affected in some way negatively.

And, as usual, all the precautions have come to nought.

According to Torrentfreak, the album was downloaded more than 100,000 times in the first ten hours of the leak.

The Brisbane Times reports that, for those with a little patience and a disdain for infringing other people's copyrights, the album will be released in a number of formats--two CD versions, a 180-gram vinyl version, and a deluxe box set complete with 64-page magazine and access to a special film. It is certainly true that millions of fans will buy one or more of these releases, but, as always, the "damage" done to an album launch by its premature release on file-sharing networks is impossible to gauge with any accuracy.

It is uncertain what effect the leak will have on the ongoing Pirate Bay trial in Sweden, but the events surrounding it--including the tight but ultimately flawed security operation mounted in the weeks and months up to now--could well be raised by the prosecution to highlight the scale and intransigent nature of the problem of copyright infringement on the Internet.

No Line on the Horizon will be legitimately released for public purchase in Ireland on 27 February and a few days later in the rest of the world.

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There is a reason the RIAA and other such companies have tried to target individual file sharers. For the most part, they can't really defend themselves. At least, that is how it used to be. Now they can, so the RIAA wants to find a way to get the courts out of it.

But anyway. Individuals don't have multi-million dollar legal teams staffed full time. Go ahead and try to sue Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. It would be fun to watch. Anyone want to place bets? I say it would last less then a week.

i blame bono and his freaking big mouth.

you know the slogan the band wanted to use when they almost launched the u2 line of condom?

"u2 should cover your bono" ...

I just did a quick search on one of my favorite sites and it's not bt or any p2p thing and found 10 working links to the album!!

Great security!!

U2 hasn't recorded anything worth listening to in 20 years, IMO. The one track our local stations have played off this sux ass so ... I wouldn't waste my bandwidth downloading this.

Oh man, I've been a huge U2 fan since their 1983 Live-Aid performance, and No Line on the Horizon is easily my least favorite album of theirs. This is the only U2 album where I don't love a single track, and hardly like any of them. The best song on this album isn't even on this album: the "Get Your Boots On" b-side alternative version of the song "No Line on the Horizon", which is so much better than the album version.

If this is the best that the classic U2/Lanois/Eno team can now produce, maybe it's time to rethink this longterm collaboration. NLOTH, imo, is self-indulgent mediocrity at its best. Sad.

That being said, I will still attend the upcoming tour, but with the hope that they won't play too many tracks from NLOTH.

I am disapoointed at the album as well, But Magnificent is truly a magnificent track... dont care much for other tracks though ...

Apparently an Australian online retailer accidentally sold hundreds of digital copies of the album early, which is the reason they leaked.

Well, the album sucks anyways. I wish they would return to some rock and roll and less of the "save Africa" crappy sound that this album represents.

From the first link:
Paul McGuinness, who has plotted the rise of the Irish group over 30 years, said technology gurus in Silicon Valley such as Apple's Steve Jobs and Microsoft's Bill Gates had profited from rampant online piracy without doing anything to stop it.

Now THAT'S laugh-out-loud funny. We all know that Microsoft has a highly active anti-piracy team and iTunes would not exist without DRM. It's like blaming Wal-Mart for carrying kitchen knives. Yes, they can be used for criminal acts but who is to blame? The guy who goes to Wal-Mart, buys a knife, and uses it to kill someone, or Wal-Mart?

Apple and Microsoft are not to blame for piracy, people with an ill sense of entitlement and "poor me" attitude are to blame. It's time to grow up, stop looking for scapegoats, and hold people who steal music accountable for their theft.

How Microsoft makes any money by people stealing music online is like trying to explain why the sky is green.

What an unbelievable moron.

Well, let's be crystal clear about this...the utterly talentless Paul McGuinness has been profiting off the legendary musical talent of a band called U2 for 30 years. And no one has done anything to stop that either.


Ugh! Damn you, excalpius! Just spent 10 minutes coughing after having my drink go down the wrong pipe...

Legendary musical talent though, hahah... wow.

Oh oh! I got it: sue hard drive manufacturers for creating devices used for storing pirated software and other illegal digital material.

They are profiting from people needing bigger drives to store all that content!

edit - Oh oh! How about manufacturers of data cables (CAT5, CAT6, Coax, etc) and such? It's their cables that illegal content is being used to pirate content!!

Paul McGuiness wants a iPod Touch U2 Edition.

They already got a U2â„¢ edition and the Bono's REDâ„¢ Campaign, so where's Global Crisis Relief Fundâ„¢ this year's Bono's latest money-leeching machine?

Premature release -- I think there are drugs and counselling you can take for that.

So, where in the supply chain did it get out? At the studio, out of Bono's back garden stereo system, some warehouse guy, or stocking clerk?

"the album was downloaded more than 100,000 times in the first ten hours of the leak"

No doubt 99.9% of those were fans of U2.

I think they downloaded it just to **** with their mind. I don't think U2 has that many fans, at least in the age range that knows how to use the internet. Remember that a few of this album's songs were leaked before when a guy while riding his bike recognized Bono's voice signing songs he never had heard on someone's house, of course, it was Bono's summer house! ( I don't remember the place, the whole thing was too ridiculous to remember everything.)

They might rock, but they are also pretty stupid businessmen that think people are stupid or something. The only smart guy in that band is Larry Mullen, that's why they don't let him talk as much as the other 3.

The funny thing is that only Metallica and U2 get so much publicity when their albums leak, it's almost like the love the spotlight and can complain about how much piracy is going on.

This is by far one of the worst albums by them, and I hate saying that as I love U2, did something change with management with them?

No, they got rich. With no real problems and no real life experiences people can relate to it is hard to write music that is worth a damn.