BY FRED MILLS
Currently on the hunt for a copy, I am (as Yoda might put it), but I ain’t gonna pay 50 bucks, much less 400…
You can describe it along lines of “gaming the Grammys” — which is essentially how Stereogum describes U2’s decision to “quietly release a few physical copies” of Songs Of Innocence yesterday in order to qualify for consideration in this year’s Grammy contest — or simply “creating an instant collectible to ramp up fan mania”… or both, most likely. U2 is nothing if not marketing-conscious. Regardless, lucky shoppers (and no doubt eBay-savvy clerks – see below) at a handful of indie record stores around the country did in fact get black vinyl/white label LPs yesterday (but not specifically promotional; note the UPC code in the photo above), and U2 got the album out there in time for the Sept. 30 deadline.
It’s worth nothing that the fan site @U2 reports on all this with a little less cynicism, but no matter; everyone’s a weiner, er, winner. This much I know from doing a U2 fanzine, U2/USA, back during the ‘80s. U2 collectors are indeed nuts, but they are still passionate and seriously all about the music, so that counts for a lot in my book.
Meanwhile, though, there are the capitalists, such as this entrepreneur, who put his copy on eBay yesterday and, as of this writing, has bids nearing $400 (he disingenuously lists it as a “test pressing”). Look closely at the price tag sticker on the record sleeve: it originally sold at a store for $49.99, so clearly some of those stores that did get copies, like Amoeba and Looney Tunes, had no problem with jacking the price up right outta the gate. Meanwhile, here’s someone with a copy already
at $460 make that $550 make that $635 and counting.
Certainly our friends Greg Kot and Jim DeRogatis of nationally syndicated radio show “Sound Opinions” are enjoying the moment: this past weekend they took some freshly sharpened, deeply serrated carving knives to Songs of Innocence and decided that it was a load of Irish bollocks (I’m putting it crudely, but conservatively). Listen to the podcast of the show to find out more.
What do we here at Blurt think? No peeking – you’ll find out the week of Oct. 13 when the white vinyl version and CD of the album gets a full release!