U2W Special Article: Record Store Day Woes: Mis-Packaged U2 Records

Original story (u2wanderer.org) by Aaron J. Sams (2015-04-26)

Record Store Day Woes: Mis-Packaged U2 Records By Aaron J. Sams / @u2wanderer Posted: April 26, 2015

U2Wanderer.Org was contacted by Dianne Delahunty on Record Store Day, April 18, 2015, to let us know what she had found in store at Banquet Records, in Kingston Upon Thames, located in the UK. She bought the last copy of the special Record Store Day pressing of U2’s Songs of Innocence, and when she got it home, it wasn’t quite as expected. The album inside could clearly be seen, and the front record was the U2 record. However the label that could be seen in the back was not a U2 album. Instead, like the U2 record, it had a white label with black text, but it listed three songs, “Sweat,” “Hush” and “Part of Me.” The label listed the record as having been produced by Zomba Recording Corporation and Printed in the USA.

Dianne’s copy of the vinyl was packaged in error. Her copy was limited copy #0711, listed on the back sleeve. The sleeve itself was typical for this release. It was only the record inside, labelled catalog number 61422-31027-1 that differed. The label could be seen through the shrink-wrap. There was no need to open the package to confirm whether or not this was visible on the copy, and Dianne had chosen to keep her copy sealed. You could clearly see it when looking at the reverse side of the release.

Mis-Packaged U2 Album with Tool EP Showing.

A second shopper at the same store, did open his copy. He too received this second record with the same catalog number above, listing the same three tracks. Stuart confirmed that he listened to the album, and this isn’t just a label that has been wrongly applied to a U2 record. The album clearly did not contain any U2 songs, and indeed is an EP by the band Tool, Opiate, originally released in 1992. This EP was not even part of the Record Store Day offerings, but maybe the plant was doing a run of these for another reason. Contacting Banquet Records, Dianne was asked to hold on to the record, and the store would contact the distributor to investigate the issue, but at this time she has not heard back. Since that time, the record label has offered to replace this vinyl directly for Dianne.

There are only three known copies of this error, all found in the same shipment to the same store in the UK. The third copy again, featured the same Tool EP but it was turned around so you saw the tracks on the other side, “Cold and Ugly (Live),” “Jerk Off (Live),” and “Opiate.” You could easily tell if you have this wrongly packaged record as the label can be seen through the die cut sleeve, so even buyers who did not open the package should know. Further insult to the buyers in Kingston? The box they were in was mishandled, and these copies were damaged in transit. Dianne’s copy was #0711, and the other copies at her store were very near this number. Other copies of Songs of Innocence numbered #0708 and #0718 on either side of this Tool error were both reported as normal copies, so the number of copies affected may indeed be very small.

Close Up of Tool EP Label.

Tool, the band whose EP has been released in this manner addressed the issue on their own website (www.toolband.com) and wrote: “Some very lucky people who purchased U2’s Songs Of Innocence during a recent record store release found instead a copy of Tool’s 1992 Opiate EP inside. Kind of makes you believe in mysterious higher powers, doesn’t it?”

Diffuser.fm reported that a UK label manager spoke about the issue and said that “a good chunk” were “sleeved at the wrong pressing plant.” It is not clear if this was in reference to this issue, or another issue that buyers have reported. The limited edition vinyl Songs of Innocence contains an insert with album credits inside the vinyl. This insert if packaged correctly was on the interior, between the vinyl where it would not be seen, and it would leave the vinyl labels visible through the die cut sleeve.

Instead, on a number of copies, you can see a photograph of the band, which is the front of this credit insert. Instead of being packaged inside between the two vinyls, it is packaged so that it is on the outside of one of the vinyl. Thus instead of seeing the white label as intended you instead see a picture of the band. This problem is widespread in these packages, and approximately 10% of the copies have this issue. The insert that you can see is included in all copies of the vinyl; if you have opened your copy you have already seen this insert. These copies with the insert seem to be randomly located within the 5000 copies, and do not fall within one range of numbers. Indeed some interesting numbers such as 0001 and 1000 were both packaged with this interior insert visible through the package.

Mis-Packaged U2 Album, with Interior Insert blocking label.

Some shops in North America reported late shipping of the orders of the U2 release with it still arriving on the evening before it was due to sell. One shop reported that they were told there were production issues with the vinyl that had delayed the release. It is unknown if this production issue mentioned could relate to these two issues above, but it is evident that there were issues within the production run. To date there has been no reports of any numbers appearing over 5000 copies, and it is not clear if additional copies have been printed to replace copies made in error.

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