Fake Promotional Releases from Songs of Innocence in Circulation

Original Story by Aaron J. Sams (2016-03-01)

For as long as people have been collecting U2 items, there have been bootlegged items. Some of these are easy to distinguish from the real thing, such as the live bootlegs that capture concerts in varying levels of quality. But there are a number of items that are in circulation now that try to fool the collector into believing they are an actual limited edition promotional item. These are items that are being sold for large amounts of money, and are done up to try to fool the collector. With this album release, there have been a number of fakes, including promos that purported being from the Netherlands.

Today we want to take a look at one set of these fake promos, that seem to be originating from Mexico. These are not the only fake U2 CDRs that are in circulation but these all seem to originate from one place. The promos themselves are labelled to appear like they are made in the EU, but most of these seemed to originate on eBay with accounts that were registered in Mexico. These are very attractive to collectors as they appear to have additional tracks, and with the lack of B-sides this time out, fans are looking for unique songs. These CDs pictured here in this article are 100% fake, and are NOT produced by Universal music. And these extra tracks? Quite often fake as well, third party remixes and live tracks taken from bootlegs to fill out the CD to make them more appealing.

The first we will take a look at is a promotional release that claims to be from the EU for “The Miracle (of Joey Ramone)”:

Fake Version of a Promo for “The Miracle (of Joey Ramone)”

This promo makes use of the promotional image that was circulated by RMP, U2’s press agency the day that the album was launched. It uses this image on the front and back covers. The back cover lists “For Radio Only Not For Sale…! 6 Exclusive Tracks 2015” which is the first sign that this is a fake. Masterful use of punctuation to make a point that this is a limited edition. The back also lists a catalog number of 28749929 929 which is unlike any catalog number we have seen before, and lists “Printed in EU”. The Universal Music logo is on this item not once, but twice in an attempt to make this look official. Another sign that this isn’t official? The dark “Promotional” box on the back uses a still from the “Song for Someone” video which came out much later than the band was promoting this song. Also the text over top of images is nearly impossible to read, and makes it look very amateurish.

The six tracks included on this fake release are as follows:

  • The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone) LP Version
  • The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone) Version Remix
  • Song For Someone (LP Version)
  • Song For Someone (Version Remix)
  • Every Breaking Wave (Remix Edit)
  • Every Breaking Wave (Radio Mix)

A mix of tracks taken from the album, or third party remixes found around the internet.

The next fake that we will look at is “Every Breaking Wave”. Again the cover of the CD is taken from the image that RMP circulated for the single in December of 2014. It is the same image that was attached to the version we could download from u2.com. On the back cover they’ve taken a picture of a wave crashing on a beach, and added a lovely “U2” in a circle logo over top.

Fake Version of a Promo for “Every Breaking Wave”

Again with this “Every Breaking Wave” the CD is sold as a USA release, however most of these originated in Mexico on eBay. The Universal logo is printed onto the back of the CD, and it claims to be by Universal Music Publishing B.V. To add to the look of this fake, they have added a “Universal” sticker and an “iShop” sticker to the outer plastic to try to make it look official. This release has no catalog number on the outer sleeve. The disc included within the package is done up to look like a USA CD and lists “Contact: 7439088635 2662csd46, Interscope Records, Inc. United States Of America (USA) Confidential ! Not for Sale or Resale! Renatte Smith” If that is supposed to be a phone number, the area code 743 is for North Carolina, and probably not something in use by Universal.

The CD itself is confused as it lists “Printed in EU” in two locations and also that it’s by Interscope in the USA. It also uses the Island logo, the Interscope logo, and the Universal Music Logo.

The CD also has some interesting terms of use to try to make it look more official:

This CD-r, is for your use only, you must not sell or give or send the CD-r, to anyone else. You must not copy the CD-r, by any means or give or lend a copy To anyone else and in particular. You must not make it available on the internet. You must keep this CD-r, in a safe place and take care to ensure That it is not taken or copied by anyone else. UNIVERSAL MUSIC, Reserves the right to require return of this CD-r, If it believes that these terms have or may be breached. thanks you for your help in fighting music Piracy and enjoy the music.

Yes, that’s as it appears on the disc, typed exactly how it appears, the start of each line is capitalized, whether or not it is the start of a new sentence.

The tracks appearing on the fake “Every Breaking Wave” include:

  • Every Breaking Wave (Radio Edit)
  • Every Breaking Wave (Remix Edit)
  • Every Breaking Wave (Short Edit Mix)
  • Every Breaking Wave (Version Edit)
  • Every Breaking Wave (Extended Version)

None of these are official edits, and the remixes are just a bit painful to my ears.

The third fake CD is “Song for Someone” – again this is presented as “Printed In: EU” on the front and back. The release gets the catalog number 277 543288, and also has a bar code (UPC) which has a unique number printed under it 83N488 499, guess who ever is making these hasn’t figured out that product codes usually only have numbers printed under them. And what promos do you know of that actually have a UPC? That’s a code used for scanning the item when you plan to sell it. The CD once again claims to be from Europe, but along the Universal and Island logos, also has the Interscope logo. The images used include one more recent image, and an image which was shot and used for promotion early in 2014 for the release of “Invisible”.

Fake Version of a Promo for “Song for Someone”

The track listing again comes with multiple version of “Song for Someone”:

  • Song for Someone (LP Version)
  • Song for Someone (Acoustic Live)
  • Song for Someone (For Radio Use Only)
  • Song for Someone (Version Remix)
  • Song for Someone (Instrumental Version)
  • Song for Someone (From Acoustic Sessions)

A bad remix, a version taken from a live promotional stop, and widely varying quality. Sadly most of these tracks are not real either, and are as authentic as the CD itself.

Running out of actual singles from the album to try to mimic, whoever is producing these continued by releasing other songs. The promo for “California” uses the same image from the “Invisible” promo sessions although this time mirroring it so the band faces in the opposite direction. It also uses a logo from the 360 Tour era. Again the Interscope Records logo is front and center, but the disc claims to have been printed in the EU. This time out they left off the Island logo and just use the Universal logo. Once again a CD that is marked “Promotional CD, not for sale or resale” has a bar code to allow it to be sold at retail. The catalog number given to this item is 8377 2398, and the number under the UPC is 24988382300.

Fake Version of a Promo for “California”

The tracks included on this fake “California” CD-R include the following:

  • California (There is No End to Love) (Acoustic Edit)
  • California (There is No End to Love) (LP Version)
  • Cedarwood Road (Acoustic Edit)
  • Cedarwood Road (LP Version)
  • Volcano (LP Version)
  • Raised by Wolves (Acoustic Edit)
  • This is Where You Can Reach Me Now (LP Version)

Perhaps the fountain of bad remixes has dried up? Most of the songs on this release are taken directly from the album, or the acoustic sessions available on the deluxe album.

“Iris (Hold Me Close)” was also released as one of these fake promo items. The front cover calls it “Iris (hold me close)” and uses an image from “No Line on the Horizon”. The back cover also uses a promotional image from “No Line on the Horizon”. This time out the CD is very specific claiming it is a “EU Special Edition” and that it is by “Universal International RECORDS B.V. NETHERLANDS Jul. 2015”. The CD has the Universal logo in a couple of places on the back cover.

Fake Version of a Promo for “Iris (Hold Me Close)”

The tracks included here include:

  • Iris (hold me close) Version LP
  • Iris (hold me close) Radio Edit
  • Iris (hold me close) Live Vancouver

The Vancouver track would have been lovely had it been released, but this is not an official track, and instead is taken from an audience recording of the Vancouver show.

There was another version of these fakes which appeared, and it was simply titled “Songs of Innocence”. The front cover featured the band in a promo shot taken from “Songs of Innocence” and the back cover used the image of Larry and his son which was used on the album. This one was stickered with Universal logo stickers again to make it look real. They also used a very common “hand writing” font on a sticker that seals the promo, instead of using the actual handwriting used in promotional materials.

This CDR lists a catalog number of 45668779989, and uses the same number under the bar code. Again, why place a bar code on something that isn’t intended for sale? Again, although listing “Distributed in EU.” the CD has the Island, Interscope and Universal logos.

Fake Version of a Promo for “Songs of Innocence”

The songs on this version include:

  • The Crystal Ballroom
  • The Crystal Ballroom 12” Mix
  • The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone) Acoustic Version
  • The Miracle (Radio Version)
  • Song for Someone (Songs of Innocence)
  • The Troubles (Alternative Version)
  • Sleep Like a Baby Tonight (Sandstorm Mix)
  • Sleep Like a Baby Tonight (Sleep Remix)

The two remixes at the end are third party remixes of the track, and are not officially sanctioned remixes. For those that are interested I’ve added the “Sleep Like a Baby Tonight (Sandstorm Mix)” to the end of this article. It is complete on this fake, including the voice over you hear at the start.

In an attempt to look even more official some copies are sold with the promise that they come with a letter from Universal identifying this is an official promotional release, and limited. The contents of that letter include a large Universal Music logo across the top, and the following text:

Prohibited the total or partial sale of this CD-R, As are the author’s rights, Universal- Island Records LTD., Is not liable for misuse that you can give, This copy is unique, just waiting to Universal Music Publishing,B.V., To receive instruction or its cancellation. The sound quality is variable by UNIVERSAL MUSIC protection for piracy issues.

Hope you are well, and soon you will receive a notice that much to you as the representatives of Universal-Island Records,LTD.


We send you a hug and you are well…

This copy is confidential, only 100 Copies have been sent to our contacts.

The letter finishes with the Island and Interscope logo, and the Universal logo is repeated at the bottom.

Let that sink in. “The sound quality is variable by Universal Music protection for piracy issues.” They are actually claiming that the crappy sound and the variable sound levels is an attempt by Universal to protect against piracy. We don’t want this pirated so we are making it sound as crappy as possible. If that’s a piracy fighting technique it’s a new one to me.

The reason we have presented so much information here is to let people know what these releases are. Often they are being sold with very little information, and sometimes you can only see the front cover on the auctions.

And here as promised is the DJ Sandstorm Remix. It may be unofficial, but it’s kind of catchy in its own way.

“Sleep Like a Baby Tonight (Sandstorm Mix)” – Third Party Unofficial Remix

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