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Was New U2 Album Hitting P-2-P Networks on Purpose? Print E-mail
Tuesday, 09 November 2004
U2’s soon-to-be-released album, How To Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, has found its way to the peer-to-peer networks. CNN reports that a London spokesperson for the band was aware that the songs are now widely available to steal from the internet. Ironically, U2 is involved in a special promotion with Apple Computer and their iTunes music service which includes national ads featuring “Vertigo” – a stripped down, upbeat yet catchy song that has hit written all over it. U2 made news during the recording of How To Dismantle an Atomic Bomb when a copy was “stolen” from a recording studio in Nice, France.

Critics suggest that the theft of How To Dismantle an Atomic Bomb and its subsequent pre-release to the peer-to-peer sites might have been done for promotional purposes. If this is true, it is one of the first truly brilliant marketing moves to promote a big-release record in years. The RIAA, with the support of the major labels, have been fighting file downloading in all forms while ignoring the media of the internet and PTP networks as a vastly powerful marketing tool. Since the 1960’s, FM radio was a make-it-or-break-it medium for new pop music. In the last 10 to 15 years radio groups, many of whom own hundreds or in one case over 1000 radio stations in the US, have very much lost their power to reach the young GenY, record buying public. They are better reached via email, on a cell phone or through a peer-to-peer network. Moreover, as much as the RIAA would argue the opposite, some suggest that the idea of an album getting on the Internet for illegal downloads actually boosts its overall sales. The last major artist this phenomenon of an “unauthorized pre-release on the net” happened to was Eminem and his record sold like hotcakes. Expect U2’s How To Dismantle an Atomic Bomb to hit store shelves early (but not too early to be the big pop release for the 2004 holiday season) and to sell like wildfire. Most likely the record will sell better than if there was no scandal over the tracks being available on the peer-to-peer networks and the associated free advertising that comes from the story.

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