Look who leaked U2’s new album

The Sydney Morning Herald by Asher Moses (2009-02-21)

Full CD-quality copies of every song on U2’s upcoming album, No Line On The Horizon, have been leaked on to the web after Universal Music Australia accidentally put it up for sale on its online music store two weeks early.

The album – U2’s 12th – goes on sale on March 3 but it was available to download for a brief period this week on getmusic.com.au, run by Universal Music Australia.

The U2 fan blog, U2log.com, published a screenshot showing it had bought the album for $19.80.

Now, No Line On The Horizon is widely available on BitTorrent and other file sharing websites.

Universal Music Australia did not respond to calls asking how the track went up for sale early.

It is not clear if the leak to illegal download sites was a result of this error, however, it is the likely explanation as U2 has kept the album under wraps and reportedly sent no preview copies to the press, instead organising private hearings.

Scores of fans – both in Australia and overseas – have posted on unofficial U2 message boards saying they bought the album from getmusic.com.au during the period it was available.

But the album, U2’s first in five years, will not be completely new to hardcore U2 fans as poor quality recordings of four tracks were published on the web in August last year after frontman Bono played them too loudly on his stereo at his villa in the south of France.

A U2 fanatic from the Netherlands who was holidaying in the village of Eze, on the French riviera, heard the new tracks being blared from Bono’s window and decided to record them using his mobile phone.

The quality was poor and the beach could be heard in the background but that didn’t deter U2 fans keen for a teaser.

In January last year, U2’s longtime manager, Paul McGuinness, lashed out at music pirates at an industry conference.

He slammed internet service providers, saying they had “enjoyed a bonanza” in the last few years by accepting fees from illegal downloaders while doing nothing to prevent them from stealing music.

He joined the chorus of music industry players calling on ISPs to disconnect users who have been caught obtaining music illegally.

“Their snouts have been at our trough feeding free for too long,” said McGuinness.

In 2004, tracks from U2’s last album, How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb, were leaked after a CD containing them were stolen from a photo shoot in the south of France.

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