Questions about the Sphere Broadcast and RSD 2024

Original Story by Aaron J. Sams (2024-04-17)

U2’s final night at Sphere is being streamed across various stations in the week to come. The special airing of the 2-hour concert is being tied into Record Store Day which falls on April 20. This year U2 is releasing a special 10-inch single on transparent red vinyl which features a live version of “Atomic City” on one side, and a remix of the song on the other side.

As always we’re getting lots of questions about Record Store Day and the airing of the final Sphere show as well. Below we’ll attempt to answer a few of these questions.

Where Can I Hear the Show?

The following are known to be airing the show.

  • Australia: Triple M Radio (Monday, April 22, 7pm AEST) [LINK]
  • Brazil: 89FM Radio (Sunday, April 28, 2pm Brazil) [LINK]
  • France: RTL2 Radio (Wednesday, April 24, 7pm France – Interview at 6pm) [LINK]
  • Germany: hr1 (Sunday, May 5, 8pm CEST) [LINK]
  • Germany: NRW Lokalradios (Friday, May 10, TBA) [LINK]
  • Germany: WDR2 (Saturday, May 25, 8pm CEST) [LINK]
  • Italy: Virgin Radio. (Saturday, April 20, 9pm Italy)* [LINK]
  • Ireland: TodayFM (Sunday, April 21, 10pm Ireland)* [LINK]
  • Japan: FM Yokohama Radio Hits Radio (Saturday, April 20th, 26:00) [LINK]
  • Netherlands: Radio Veronica (Saturday, April 20, 10pm Netherlands) [LINK]
  • Spain: RockFM (Friday, April 19, 10pm Spain – Coverage starts at 9pm)* [LINK]
  • UK: Absolute Radio (Friday, April 18, 9pm UK) [LINK]
  • UK: Absolute Radio (Saturday, April 20, 9pm UK) [LINK]
  • UK: Absolute Classic Rock Radio (Saturday, April 20, 9pm UK) [LINK]
  • UK: Planet Rock (Tracks across the weekend of April 20th / April 21st) [LINK]
  • UK: Absolute Greatest Hits Radio (Sunday, April 21, 4pm UK) [LINK]

Also announced is that there will be a special airing for subscribers, which will be announced in the next couple of days. You can also find these listings in calendar form in our Events page.

(The later listings for Absolute Radio’s stations are not yet showing in the schedule we’ll update if we spot them.)

What if I don’t Live in one of the above countries?

The ones we’ve listed above with an asterisk (*) are not geo-blocked. We’ve had success listening to them with no additional software required. Please take a listen to one of the stations ahead of time and see if it works for you as well. They may not be convienent due to time changes, but at least there is an option. (At this time it appears that only the UK broadcasts are region encoded.)

We are told additional stations will be announcing plans to air this program in the days ahead as well. We will update as more are added.

For those in the US and Canada, who are subscribers to SiriusXM, the show is available on demand, but will likely be removed at some point through the day today. (April 17 was announced to be the final day for streaming.)

Will it be the full show?

It appears that it will be the same program that was aired on SiriusXM which included all of the songs played during U2’s final show at Sphere. Some of the talk between songs has been edited out of the SiriusXM broadcast as has one snippet Bono included during the performance.

Will there be video?

This is the final show at Sphere, recorded March 2, 2024. The band did not film that show for release. So there will be no video made available. (The band did film the three prior shows, February 23 and 24, and March 1. Plans are underway to cut that into a film to be shown at Sphere. A release date has not been announced, nor have plans for any release beyond Sphere.)

What is Record Store Day?

Record Store Day is an annual event that started in the USA to bring attention to independent Record Stores. It’s a day where special vinyl releases are sent to these shops to draw a crowd, and has become one of the biggest days for selling records worldwide. Record Store Day has expanded outside of the USA, and now takes place in Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, UK and more.

What is U2 Releasing for Record Store Day?

IMAGE: “Atomic City” RSD Single

U2 are releasing a 10-inch single with two versions of “Atomic City”, a live recording and a remix. The release is on transparent red vinyl, and will be released in a picture sleeve, with a poster folded inside the package. More information is available about the release in the “Atomic City“ discography entry.

When was this version of “Atomic City” Recorded?

To meet the Record Store deadlines, the band had to submit the contents for Record Store Day by mid-November. So the recording of “Atomic City” is from the shows in September, October or early November, last year. The date appears to not be listed on the label, or on the back cover of the release from promotional photos. An early mock-up showed a date of November 11, but U2 did not play that day at Sphere. We will confirm the date when the item is released if it can be done from the recording.

Update: The track is confirmed to be from November 3, 2023.

Will U2 release this in other formats?

U2 almost always release their Record Store Day offerings as “RSD First” items. This means they are able to release the items later. However, even though items like “The Europa EP” and “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me” were released as “RSD First” items, these have not yet been released in any other formats. Under A Blood Red Sky in November was made available on digital platforms, but the last release made available online before that was 2018’s “Lights of Home”.

How many copies have been pressed?

“Atomic City” has been pressed at 3000 copies for the USA and 3000 copies for the UK and Ireland. Although we don’t have a total number worldwide, we expect it will be in the 11,000 – 12,000 copies range for the full world including UK and USA. U2 have typically done runs of 17,000 – 21,000 copies in the past, so this does appear to be a reduction in numbers and may make “Atomic City” a little harder to find. If we can confirm a total number we’ll share it via our RSD Page. At 17,000 or 21,000 the items are typically easy to come by, and available online long after the event itself.

Can I pre-order/ Reserve the U2 record?

Items for Record Store Day are not generally available for pre-order, as the whole point of the day is to get customers into stores. From the FAQ: Stores are bound by the Record Store Day code of conduct which prohibits them reserving product for customers or allowing customers to pre order product. Record Store Day is about the occasion and visiting the store is part of the enjoyment so our best advice is get up early and check with stores in advance that they have your product. The rules are strictest in the UK, Canada and the USA. In other countries they can be a little more relaxed and there are reports each year that some stores do take pre-orders.

Can I buy “Atomic City” online?

Stores are also prohibited from selling online in advance of Record Store Day. And indeed, typically cannot list the item online until the day after Record Store Day. (In the UK they will start selling on Monday) So if you are interested in making an online purchase, these will typically become available on Sunday if quantities remain after in-store sales are completed.

Why is the single listed on eBay?

Copies will pop up on eBay ahead of Record Store Day for high prices. Due to the limited nature of these releases, some users of eBay will assume they will get a copy of the vinyl on Record Store Day and list the vinyl in advance in order to get high prices. This is one of the downsides of Record Store Day. These people do not actually have the product to sell in most cases, nor will they be shipping it out before Record Store Day. And in some cases, come the actual day, they will not get their ‘allotment’ and will end up cancelling auctions. We suggest not getting worried and buying one of these advanced auctions. If you do have to buy on eBay the prices usually come down right after the event happens. However, as items are limited, this is not always guaranteed.

The Record Store Day site once listed:

“When you see a title listed on an auction site before RSD, it’s almost CERTAINLY someone who has listed something they do not have in hand, and can’t guarantee they will have in hand, because they’re going out to a store to try and get it like everyone else. They call it a “pre-order” but since they’re not getting distributed to, it’s not a pre-order. It’s more like a scam, really. We work very hard to investigate the listings and in the tiny percentage of the time over the past ten years that it has been a store behind it, there have been serious implications for that store.”

Will this item really be worth the crazy amounts I see on eBay?

A few U2 items have climbed in price. The numbered “Wide Awake in Europe” EP and Songs of Innocence releases both bring in a much larger price. The super-limited black and white copy of “The Blackout” likewise brings in high prices. “Atomic City” appears to be more limited than other recent RSD releases, but not as limited as the items mentioned above.

Will all record shops get this release?

Stores have to order and receive the titles just like any other new release through the year. They are not given to the stores, and the store must order copies of the U2 vinyl or there will be none for sale. What will happen at times, with a limited release, a store may not get all of the copies that they have ordered. Stores got their lists they can order from this week, so now is a good time to reach out to the store you plan to shop at and let them know you would like to have the album ordered. This is a day organized for independent record stores, and if you are hoping to buy the vinyl at a larger international chain, you may want to check first that they are eligible to participate. Some stores have started to get their RSD selections in, so your store may be willing to share whether or not they have received the item at this point in time.

How will I know if my store got copies of the U2 release in?

Some stores will post lists of the items they have received in advance of Record Store Day. As they can be penalized for taking advance orders, they still will not be able to take orders for individual items at that time. Exact quantities being shipped may be limited, and may not be known until items actually are received at stores, which happens the week of the release. Other stores will not post confirmation, and you will have to wait until the doors open on Record Store Day to find out what is inside. Some stores have already started to post photos of the record. Others may not have received their copies yet.

Where Can I find out more information about U2’s RSD releases?

We maintain a discography of RSD and Black Friday titles which looks at the numbers released, the covers, the descriptions and more for each item released since 2010. You can find this here. We also took a closer look at the print runs for U2’s RSD items in an article in 2022 titled “A Celebration of U2’s Record Store Days“.

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