Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

All eyes on next U2 album after poor reissue sales

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 …

Fri, Aug 15, 2008, 04:13

   

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 partners at Live Nation – who have 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.