U2 Release Blunder Down Under

There won’t be any cigars for the staffers at Universal Music Australia who inadvertently made U2’s anticipated new album « No Line On the Horizon » available digitally more than a week before release.

According to reports, high-quality downloads of the album were briefly made available earlier this week on Getmusic.com.au, a digital store operated by Universal Music’s Australian affiliate.

« Horizon, » however, is not due for release down under until Feb. 27 and the tracks were promptly taken down when the error was noticed. Some bloggers have posted screen-grabs showing they had purchased the album for $19.80 Australian ($12.80).

To make matters worse for the music major, « Horizon » is now understood to be widely distributed via peer-to-peer file sharing networks.

A Universal Music spokesman declined to comment, and the culprit remains anonymous.

An internal leak of U2’s 12th studio set will have the band members and executives pulling their hair out, especially considering the great lengths Universal and U2’s management have taken to keep « Horizon » under wraps. Critics weren’t sent review copies, but were invited to listening parties where recording devices were banned.

The legendary Irish rockers’ manager Paul McGuinness sent shock-waves rippling across the music and telecommunications industries when he delivered a speech at the MidemNet conference in 2008 in which he urged ISPs to take responsibility for copyright violations. McGuinness’ tough words came from experience – his wards’ previous album, the nine-million selling « How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb » from 2004, was also leaked.

By Lars Brandle, Brisbane


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