U2 Catalog to be released on SHM-CD for the First Time in Japan

Original Story by Aaron J. Sams (2017-06-02)

We’ve seen a lot of issues of U2’s back catalog of late. In October 2015 the first Kiosk Collection appeared, a box set, with new releases each week in Spain, with each CD being released in a digipack through a news kiosk, and a nice box to house the whole collection. In August 2016 a similar collection was released in Italy, called The Italian Collection. And in November 2016, a Kiosk Collection was also issued in Portugal, with some differences from the Spanish collection, but most of the same pressings.

Just last week, U2’s entire back catalog was refreshed on iTunes, with new “Mastered for iTunes” versions appearing in store, with additional mastering work including some work by The Edge on albums like Pop and All That You Can’t Leave Behind. (It is not these new masters that are being used for this upcoming set.)

Now it looks like there is a new set of releases coming, this time from Japan. Both CDJapan and HMV are now advertising that there will be a re-release of U2’s catalog in SHM-CD format.

Each U2 album is being released under this program. The mastering being used for these CDs is not the new mastering used for iTunes, but is using previous mastering for each, but this is the first time any of these have been pressed to SHM format. The notes for All That You Can’t Leave Behind at CDJapan describes “The cardboard sleeve faithfully replicates its EU first pressing LP design, including a 16-page booklet and an inner sleeve. Comes with lyrics and a description.” HMV Japan also lists “Commentary / Lyrics with bilingual translation”. Both sites identify this as the master used for the original release of the album.

CDJapan has a dedicated page for these releases, and lists, “Each cardboard sleeve faithfully replicates its UK (or EU) first pressing LP design, and some include detailed features such as inner sleeve and sticker. Also remastering years vary depending on title. Please make sure them on each product’s description.” Some of these possible extra features mentioned by Universal include replications of the first OBI strips used in the Japanese vinyl releases for Boy and October, the original illustrated lyrics insert from War, the inner sleeves used for No Line on the Horizon and How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, and exterior stickers from releases of Achtung Baby and The Joshua Tree.

SHM-CD is a digital optical disc, with the same size as a regular compact disc. The biggest improvement in the disc is the use of a polycarbonate material that allows for less laser scatter during reading, producing fewer errors. SHM-CDs are capable of being played in a standard CD player. The digital information contained on the SHM-CD will be the same as that on a standard CD, the SHM-CD format just improves the ‘readability’ of this information.

The format was developed by Universal Music Japan and JVC. U2, of course, is signed with Universal Music. The format first started to be used in 2008.

  • Boy (UICI-9055, UPC: 4988031237267, 2008 Remaster)
  • October (UICI-9056, UPC: 4988031237274, 2008 Remaster)
  • War (UICI-9057, UPC: 4988031237281, 2008 Remaster)
  • The Unforgettable Fire (UICI-9058, UPC: 4988031237298, 2009 Remaster)
  • The Joshua Tree (UICI-9059, UPC: 4988031237304, 2007 Remaster)
  • Rattle and Hum (UICI-9060, UPC: 4988031237311, Original Master)
  • Achtung Baby (UICI-9061, UPC: 4988031237328, 2011 Master)
  • Zooropa (UICI-9062, UPC: 4988031237335, 2011 Master)
  • Pop (UICI-9063, UPC: 4988031237342, Original Master)
  • All That You Can’t Leave Behind (UICI-9064, UPC: 4988031237359, Original Master)
  • How to Dismantle An Atomic Bomb (UICI-9065, UPC: 4988031237366, Original Master)
  • No Line on the Horizon (UICI-9066, UPC: 4988031237373, Original Master)
  • Songs of Innocence (UICI-9067, UPC: 4988031237380, Original Master)

The items listed above as an “Original Master” are to be pressed from the same master used to press the last issue of these on CD in 2008.

All 13 of these are being released on August 23, 2017, and both shops mentioned above are taking pre-orders for these items at this time. They are being listed at 2667 yen at CD Japan, and 2880 yen at HMV. ($24.11-26.03 USD / 21.33-23.03EUR / 18.70-20.10 GBP at today’s conversion based on Xe.Com).

Thank you to Paul Radcliffe for his assistance with this article.

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