All eyes on next U2al­bum af­ter poor reis­sue sales

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - News -

That sound you can hear in the back­ground is the sound of the U2 ma­chine crank­ing up. With a new album due in the next cou­ple of months,the ap­pear­ance of the peren­nial “U2 tapes stolen” story must be just around the cor­ner – and the band have an­nounced an­other batch of reis­sues.

The Live At Red Rocks DVD and the Un­der a Blood Red Sky live album will be re­leased on Septem­ber 26th.

The band, record la­bel and as­sorted in­ter­ested par­ties will be hop­ing this bout of cat­a­logue pimp­ing will pro­duce bet­ter re­sults than their last reis­sue cam­paign.

The re­vamped and re­mas­tered Boy, Oc­to­ber and War al­bums have sold poorly in Ire­land. In the three weeks be­tween the re­lease date on July 18th and Au­gust 7th, Boy and War ac­cu­mu­lated less than 900 sales apiece, while Oc­to­ber shifted just over 600 copies.

Of course, reis­sues have a lim­ited ap­peal and are usu­ally viewed as long-term cat­a­logue prod­ucts. How­ever, U2’s lav­ish reis­sues did re­ceive a lot of me­dia at­ten­tion, and the poor sales in­di­cate pos­si­ble fan­base fa­tigue. The real at­ten­tion, though, will be on the re­ac­tion to the next album. A new U2 record has al­ways been seen as an event re­lease and some­thing that gets peo­ple into the record shops. But changes in how the re­tail sec­tor op­er­ates, and es­pe­cially in how mu­sic is dis­trib­uted, has meant such event re­leases are now largely a thing of the past.

With this album due to ap­pear on a Uni­ver­sal la­bel as usual, any in­ten­tions the band may have had of do­ing a Ra­dio­head with the re­lease don’t ap­pear to have ma­te­ri­alised.

Mean­while, the band’s new part­ner at Live Na­tion – which has inked a multi-mil­lion dol­lar deal with the band cov­er­ing tour­ing, mer­chan­dise and web­site ac­tiv­i­ties for the next 12 years – will be hop­ing that the band hit the road early in 2009. That’s where the real money is to be made – and the live shows may even help to flog more of that back cat­a­logue.

jim­car­roll@irish­times.ie

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