Where Are My Joshua Tree Singles?

Original Story by Aaron J. Sams (2018-03-12)

Updated: March 12, 2018:

It’s been two weeks, and once again we polled users on Twitter and Facebook to ask if they have received their vinyl. For the first time since we started looking at things, more users have gotten their vinyl than have not. In the poll started on Sunday, and finished today, 54.9% of respondents have gotten their fan club gift this year. That still leaves a large group of fans waiting, with 45.1% still waiting for their gift.

The good news is the gifts are going out. On January 6, 77% of people were still waiting for this item. On February 25, 68% were still waiting, and now just two weeks later, 54.9% are waiting for the gift. If the fan club can keep up the rate of fulfillment they reached in the last two weeks, it will be mid-April when the last of the gifts are delivered. On our social media feeds, we are seeing more fans each day receiving the vinyl.

The help information on U2.com has been updated to reflect current shipping information as well. That page now reads:

Following dispatch of initial orders, there were unexpected delays in production of the four 10” discs which form The Joshua Tree Singles Vinyl Collection: 1987 & 2017. Production has since resumed and dispatch to all 2017 cycle subscribers is well underway, to be complete in early March. Dispatch to more recent subscribers is also now underway.

Two weeks ago, this message was still saying, “Production is now underway again and dispatch of the gift will begin again in early February.” Please note that it says dispatch will be completed, there will still be a shipment time for these items after dispatch.

Shipment arriving now are using a smaller box, sized closer to the 10-inch vinyl records. Shipments in December and January were in a bigger 12-inch sized box.

On Friday we spoke with an operator at U2.Com and were told that not all of the orders have been shipped at this point, but most are now in a pre-shipment phase and that all of them should go out by the end of the month. Many are being shipped without any email notification, but if you are still waiting, you can see the status of your order by going to U2.Com, choosing ‘Shop’, and then scrolling to the bottom and choosing ‘Order Status’. Find your order number from when you redeemed and you will see either a shipment date or the message “Shipping info for this order is not available.” if it has not yet shipped.

Regardless of whether or not your order has shipped, you can download the tracks from this gift now in your Account Info page at U2.Com. If you are logged in visit http://www.u2.com/profile and scroll down. Under “Subscriber Downloads” on the left you should see “Download all 8 songs from ‘The Joshua Tree Singles Vinyl Collection: 1987 & 2017’ (83MB zip file)”.

The subscriber gift from U2.Com is routinely sent out in December of the year preceding the year the gift is for. The 2017 gift for instance should arrive in December 2016. This time, the gift has been delayed multiple times, and the 2017 gift still hasn’t arrived to all subscribers as of March 2018. The very nature of the gift required a delay, and fans choosing this gift last year were told that shipment would not start before September 2017 due to the inclusion of tracks from The Joshua Tree 2017 tour.

It looks like steps have been taken to get this gift out, and they are now arriving with fans once again. We will continue to keep an eye on this and will report on any developments in this article.

Original Story: From February 25, 2018:

First of all, if you haven’t received your 2017 Fan Club gift from U2.Com you are not alone. Most of us still have not received the gift at this point. We know this is causing some frustration for many, especially as copies start to show up on eBay. We hope the following article will help answer some of the questions that people have to date.

So how many have their vinyl?

We did a little poll on Facebook and Twitter to ask if you had received your vinyl. The poll has now closed, and 2354 people have responded. Right now it appears that 68% of you have not received your vinyl, and only 32% have responded to say that you have.

That is a little better than the situation in early January. On January 6 we did a similar poll, answered by 1764 fans, and at that time 77% of people had not received your vinyl, and 23% had responded to say they had.

What’s the slow down with this gift?

Initially when announced, we were told this gift would ship in the latter part of the year. The gift would include tracks from The Joshua Tree tour which had not yet happened when the gift was announced. We were told that the gift would not ship until September in one area of U2.Com, and in the Fall in another area of U2.Com. We were always told from the time that the gift was announced and details revealed that we would not have this gift until the latter part of the year.

But the vinyl was delayed right from the start. No copies of this gift shipped before December 2017, and the first copy we saw being reported as having been received by any subscriber was December 8, 2017. Had this been a normal gift, it usually takes three to four months from the time the first person receives the gift until they have all been received as they are shipped out in small batches. To make up for this delay, digital copies of the tracks were released in early October, 2017 and are available now for download from your account.

On January 5 we had contact with the Fan Club and asked about the gift. At that time we were told that shipping was on track, and they hoped to have all of the gifts sent by the end of January.

On January 16, an update was made to the U2.Com Help Page in relation to the gift:

What is the status with the 2017 subscriber gift? Following dispatch of initial orders, there were unexpected delays in production of the four 10” discs which form the new limited edition collection The Joshua Tree Singles Vinyl Collection: 1987 & 2017. Production is now underway again and dispatch of the gift will begin again in early February. We’ll email you as soon as your copy hits the post so that you know when to expect it. Don’t forget, qualifying Subscribers can download all 8 tracks today from the Account Info page.

There were few reports of people receiving the vinyl throughout January and early February. But again on February 6, 2018 we started getting notifications from people receiving the gift, and we’ve seen new notifications that the gift is arriving every day since that time.

What is this production issue?

For some reason, U2.Com was unable to get copies of the vinyl to mail out.

Vinyl as a format has had sustained growth over the last decade, and the demand for vinyl is now outpacing the remaining vinyl pressing facilities. Pressing plants are struggling to cope with the surge in demand, and many independent labels are now finding it difficult to find anyone to produce their output.

I suspect that the delay in this gift in the fall was likely the impending Black Friday Record Store Day. Presses were overwhelmed by that event and several delays in vinyl were announced because of these issues. In fact, we suspect that U2’s choice to Third Man Records for the limited pressing of “The Blackout” was because of this demand.

And this gift is not easy, as it requires pressing of four different vinyl, quadrupling the time to make each gift.

Exclaim.ca explains, “Record Store Day regularly faces criticisms of clogging the market with unwanted reissues and gimmicky picture discs and colour variants. Some records fly off the shelves and fetch hefty resale prices on online resale sites; others languish in bargain bins all year round. Independent labels have complained in the past that RSD causes a backlog at vinyl pressing plants, resulting in painfully slow turnaround times due to the event.”

The more recent delay may be due to other issues. As people started to receive their gift in December and early January so did the complaints that there were issues with the vinyl set received. We’ve heard from a number of readers who got two copies of one of the singles, and were missing another. For some this can be seen because the sleeves were wrong, but for others, this error could not be seen until the gift was opened, as they received the proper four sleeves, but the vinyl inside the sleeve were not correct. If this mistake was wide spread there may have been a decision made to halt shipment until rectified, or it is possible there have been other delays of which we are unaware.

With 68% of the fan club still waiting, and now getting anxious about their gift, U2.Com is getting a large amount of inquiries about this gift at this time. They are currently telling people calling that there was a production delay, and that things are now shipping again, and asking that people be patient. They are also claiming that subscribers will get an email when their vinyl ships. However, most are not getting email notifications of shipment, unless they live in the USA.

Is this because…?

We’ve seen a lot of people coming up with theories that this is because of where a subscriber is located, or when they resubscribe, or other reasons for the delay.

We can confirm that the vinyl has been received worldwide with readers telling us it has arrived in South America, Australia, Asia, and throughout Europe. But with close 70% of these left undelivered, we can also report fans in each of these regions are also still waiting for their gifts to arrive. This is a worldwide issue at the moment, and the fan club has not chosen just to fulfill orders in one region.

We can also confirm that it does seem to be independent of renewal date based on those we have spoken to.

When will I get mine?

It usually takes three to four months to send out all of the gifts. The longest fulfillment time in recent years was with the lithographs which took almost six months to send out from start to finish. Currently it appears that about one third of the vinyl has been sent out, and they’ve had approximately a month before the manufacturing delay. If there are no further delays, I’d expect it will take 2-3 months to fulfill all subscriptions based on past wait times. Shipments started appearing again in early February, so I would expect the last of these to be delivered by the end of April. That would be seven months late, based on the originally announced date of September 2017, but as we’ve seen these gifts usually appear in December of the year before the year the gift is for, that would mean to many this gift would be 16 months late if they do finish shipment by April. This is by far the latest that a gift has ever been from the fan club.

Asked about the 2018 subscription gift, that we should have gotten in December, an operator at U2.Com stated that they would announce that gift only after they have finished shipping the current gift. So we may be a while off from knowing what the gift we signed up for this year actually is.

We will follow up in a few weeks time with another poll asking about the vinyl.

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