Fan Club Vinyl: Most Still Waiting

Original Story by Aaron J. Sams (2018-01-07)

If you haven’t yet received your 2017 gift from U2.Com, don’t panic yet! Most of us haven’t received the vinyl set yet. Although some copies have started to ship and are turning up in mailboxes daily around the world, the majority of those expecting this vinyl set have not yet received them yet.

We’ve taken to Twitter and Facebook to ask whether or not subscribers of U2.Com have received the vinyl today, and as of writing this we’ve heard back from 1764 fans. The results show that 77.1% of the people expecting the vinyl have not yet received the vinyl. Only 22.9% of respondents have received the vinyl. It’s easy to get worried when you see the vinyl start showing up in early December and you still don’t have your copy a month later. But at the moment there are far more people still waiting for the vinyl than have received the vinyl at this point. Calls to the help desk confirm that they have not even finished sending out all of the copies of the vinyl, and that copies are still being sent throughout January. The person we spoke to claimed that they hoped to have all of the copies mailed by the end of January.

Thank you for the quick reply in these polls. Both polls are still open, and accepting votes, so if you haven’t and want to let us know whether or not you received your set you can do so here:

(When these close tomorrow, we will update this story with the actual final numbers)

What’s taking so long for the vinyl to arrive?

Honestly, if they have all the copies of this mailed out by the end of January it will be one of the quickest turnaround times to send out all of the fan club gifts in recent years. Over the last few years we’ve kept an eye on social media as these gifts are sent out. From the first reports that they have started to arrive, until the time that we stop seeing subscribers asking when they will get their gift traditionally takes about three months from the time the first gift appears. The last set of 10-inch vinyl, Another Time Another Place took about four months to arrive from start to finish. Many of the smaller gifts, such as the CDs in past years have arrived from start to finish, over about three months. The gift that took the longest seemed to be the lithographs, where it took almost six months from the start of them arriving, until everyone seemed to have their copies.

The delay in sending these out happens every year. Not everyone’s gift is sent on the same day, and it takes months for the entire subscriber base to be fulfilled. In the first month, traditionally only a small percentage of people receive these. The first reports of The Joshua Tree Singles vinyl arriving happened on December 8, 2017. So at this point we are still in the first month of people receiving the gifts. Thus far from our poll mentioned above, it appears that about 22% have received gifts. These were shipped out during the Christmas season as well, when there are higher volumes of mail, and closures of mail service on a number of days due to the holidays.

So is this usual?

Last year’s gift has appeared to be problematic since the start. Typically a fan club gift is announced in November of the year ahead of the year that the gift is for. That means the gift for 2017 should have been announced in November 2017 based on previous offerings, but in December, a notice was posted that the gift was delayed with no further details. The gift choice of The Joshua Tree Singles was not announced until May 3, 2017. Already we were five months into the year. Prior to that, the latest a gift had ever been announced was for the 2009 subscriber year, and that gift was announced on February 24 of that year.

Originally, when announced in May, we were told that this gift would be late. The announcement on May 3, 2017 informed subscribers that the gift would contain tracks from the upcoming Joshua Tree Tour which had not even started yet, and that due to these performances being taken from the upcoming tour the set would not ship until September. In another location on U2.Com posted the same day the set was listed to ship in Autumn.

On October 5, 2017, after missing the original September date, the eight tracks on the vinyl set were made available for download from U2.Com. If you haven’t received your vinyl yet, and haven’t yet found these, you can find the eight tracks on your profile page here on U2.Com and you can download them right now. At the time, U2.Com announced that the vinyl would not “begin shipping” until December.

They did keep their word on shipping date this time, the vinyl did begin shipping in December, and the first copies arrived on December 8, 2017. However, due to the usual long delays in shipping all of the product, it means subscribers are now receiving the gift in the year following the subscription year, 2017, and in many cases are starting to have subscriptions come up for renewal without having received their last renewal gift.

So does this happen every year?

The subscription gifts haven’t exactly always arrived on time, but they’ve never appeared as late as they have this year. In most years the gift is announced in mid to late November. Out of 12 gifts to date, half of them were announced in November, and three of them were actually announced earlier than expected. Only the gifts in 2009 (Medium, Rare and Remastered), 2016 (Lithographs), and 2017 (The Joshua Tree Singles) were announced late. This year’s gift, remains unannounced as well so joins the list of those announced late.

Fan Club Gift Timeline 2006 - 2018

In most cases the gifts arrive in December of the year ahead of the subscription year. This was the case for the first three gifts, as well as the 2013 gift. Another four gifts arrived within four months of the start of the year. The longest delays in gifts prior to the current issue were the U22 live release (June), the vinyl set Another Time Another Place (July) the lithographs (June). With a twelve month delay, The Joshua Tree Singles is starting to arrive when the 2018 gift should have been arriving at mailboxes. Perhaps another gift should have been found for 2017, and these vinyls used for the 2018 gift.

So what happens next?

Only 23% of subscribers seem to have received their vinyl based on a poll. So many of us have no choice but to sit and wait for last years gift. (Yes, that includes me, my set has not arrived). In the meantime, we can download the audio and have a listen, and we’ve shared some images and information on the releases. The good news is there are more people each day reporting seeing these arriving, and that includes people in Australia, UK, The Netherlands, Spain, Canada to date.

As reported earlier, U2.Com is reporting that they hope to have all the vinyl being shipped by the end of January. My personal guess based on past gifts is that we will see gifts still arriving throughout February as well. If you reach March, and still have not seen a copy of the vinyl, then I would suggest it is time to get worried about what happened to your shipment.

And for those of you who got last years gift? Save us a spot in the queue waiting for news on the 2018 gift. Many thanks.

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