4 ways U2 could have plugged the leak

Bono realises it might actually be his fault...
Bono realises it might actually be his fault...

Yesterday, we were lucky enough to hear an advanced preview of U2's new album No Line On The Horizon… er, hang on: it's already leaked.

'Big deal', we hear you cry. Nothing escapes 'the internet'. 'Everything leaks'. And it's true, last year's biggest releases - Metallica, Oasis and Guns N' Roses (to name but a few) - were splattered all over the web while the album artwork was still drying in a warehouse in Germany.

But is there more to it than rip-happy industry types in the case of the Irish megastars? After all, every U2 album since 1991 has leaked in one way or another.

So, here are four failsafe ways U2 can stop those pesky leaks - from being a bit more smart to being a lot less stupid…

In rainbows

In rainbows

1. Do a Radiohead

The band's manager and 'fifth member' Paul McGuiness once declared that U2 would never follow Radiohead's pay-what-you-want download model. Perhaps Mr McGuinness should have a think about the last major album not to have leaked in advance of its release… hello, In Rainbows.

Cutting out the middlemen, it seems, does wonders for secrecy.

ghetto blaster

ghetto blaster

2. Turn it down!

While holidaying in the south of France last summer, Bono overlooked one minute detail: other people have ears (and recording devices). Blasting out four of 'Horizon's half-finished tracks in the vicinity of an open window was always going to upset the neighbours…

Now, if this had been an isolated incident, we might forgive it. But the exact same scenario cropped-up in 2006 and after a How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb session in 2004. By the sounds of things, this particular beach should be first on any U2 fan's holiday wishlist.

3. Avoid putting material in public bins, suitcases

Way back in 1981 (before computers ruled the world), U2 lost an entire suitcase full of lyrics in Oregon, US. In 1999 (when computers did rule the world), U2 lost an entire laptop full of lyrics. To be fair on the band, both items were stolen. So apart from hiring better security, you can't do much about thieves.

However, a three hour recording of an Achtung Baby rehearsal leaking after it was dumped in a hotel bin is utterly inexcusable.

Ben folds

Ben folds

4. Make a fake album

Perhaps the most creative (if not devious) tactic of them all: record fake songs and leak them yourself à la Ben Folds. Oh yes, Apple's GarageBand pin-up duped everyone with his Way To Normal leak. Here's how: "we wrote bogus bullshit lyrics to the titles of the songs on the album. We made up the music, recorded it and mixed it that day."

"Part of me rebels against the official releases of things because it's gotten so big. It's all out of whack and I wanted to do something about it."

There you go, U2. Next time, you've got no excuses…

Tom Porter worked on MusicRadar from its mid-2007 launch date to 2011, covering a range of music and music making topics, across features, gear news, reviews, interviews and more. A regular NAMM-goer back in the day, Tom now resides permanently in Los Angeles, where he's doing rather well at the Internet Movie Database (IMDB).