Stolen U2 Playing Online

Jam! Showbiz by John Sakamoto (1996-11-13)

An illegally obtained clip of U2’s new single has appeared on the Internet more than two months before the song is scheduled to be officially released.

The 30-second clip of “Discotheque” has popped up on at least two unofficial U2 web sites run by fans over the past two weeks and, contrary to a report in online rock mag Addicted To Noise, was still accessible as of late Wednesday afternoon. As of yesterday, “Discotheque” will now be made available by satellite to radio stations in Canada and around the world on Jan. 15 — a week later than planned — a spokesperson for the band’s Canadian label confirmed Wednesday.

What you’ll hear if you can locate the sites on the Web (more on that later) is a rock/dance music hybrid not entirely dissimilar to the band’s experiments on the last U2 album, Zooropa.

Though it’s ludicrous to base any conclusions on 30 seconds of music, rabid fans could interpret the results as the group’s attempts to inject a rock element into what could otherwise be described as a surprisingly un-rock-like sound.

The appearance of the clip on the ‘Net prompted a predictable response from U2’s record label, Island, which Addicted To Noise quotes as saying:

“It has come to our attention that a number of radio stations have acquired a 30 second clip of an incomplete and degraded version of ‘Discotheque’ by U2, which we believe was downloaded from an Internet site. Island is currently investigating how this version came to be on the Internet, but clearly its use on the Internet and its potential broadcast on radio are infringements of Island’s rights. We would greatly appreciate radio refraining from playing this incomplete version until the finished single is released.”

As for hearing the “Discotheque” clip yourself — and an excerpt from another new track, “Wake Up Dead Man” — we’re reluctant to get anyone in trouble by identifying the sites. However, we can point you in the right direction. Try using one of the more popular search engines — HotBot ( is a good start — and typing in, say, Discotheque, U2, and audio. That should get you going.

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