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U2 May Turn To iTunes Music Store If Faced With Piracy

U2 May Turn To iTunes Music Store If Faced With Piracy

by , 7:30 PM EDT, July 22nd, 2004

According to an article published by UK newspaper the Telegraph, U2 may turn to Apple's iTunes Music Store (iTMS) if a recently stolen copy of their next, unreleased CD turns up on the Internet. In order for the group not to lose sales of their music to months of availability through P2P networks, U2's Bono said the group may turn to the iTMS in order to immediately get the work out in a commercial fashion. A copy of the band's forthcoming work, which isn't supposed to be released on CD until November, was stolen during a photo shoot earlier this month. From the Telegraph:

This might seem a lot of fuss for a missing CD. Ten years ago bands would glibly hand out advance copies of their albums to friends and co-workers. But in the era of peer-to-peer filesharing, U2 are coming to terms with the fact that two years of hard work on a project expected to generate tens of millions in revenue could be made available as a free download on the internet months in advance of its planned November release.

U2's lead singer Bono has proposed a radical solution. "If it is on the internet this week, we will release it immediately as a legal download on iTunes, and get hard copies into the shops by the end of the month," he told me. "It would be a real pity. It would screw up years of work and months of planning, not to mention [expletive deleted] up our holidays. But once it's out, it's out."

There's more in the full story at the Telegraph's Web site, including more background information on how the CD went missing, and issues regarding consolidation in the recording industry. We recommend the article as a very good read.

The Mac Observer Spin:

We've been talking for more than a year about the potential for change that the iTMS offers, but this is a kind of change we hadn't thought about. The idea of combatting piracy by being able to instantly release a CD's worth of music through digital distribution is certainly something that has never, ever been possible before.

On the same note, think for a moment about what Bono said in the interview: "It would screw up years of work and months of planning," should this CD be leaked. The "years of work" represents the writing, recording, and producing effort, but the "months of planning" most likely deals with the process of physically manufacturing and releasing a CD. "Months of planning" at the level of this kind of project also means "gazillions of dollars," as there are many, many man-hours involved.

It doesn't take months of planning to release anything digitally, and that represents enormous savings for many groups, especially once we make the transition to the day when many works are released only in digital format. That's a fairly significant change in the way business is done today in the music industry.

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