U2's Bono: "I'm overpaid"

Bono: "this is madness"
Bono: "this is madness"

U2's No Line On The Horizon album is at Number 1 in both the US and UK this week, but Bono has spoken out about the file-sharing that might have harmed U2's sales.

No Line On The Horizon leaked online 13 days before its official release. According to to peer-to-peer monitoring firm BigChampagne, the album was illegally downloaded at least 445,000 times before official release.

While No Line On The Horizon still debuted in the US Billboard chart at Number 1, its first week sales in the US were around 484,000 - roughly 400,000 less, coincidentally, than 2004's How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb.

"The music business has been thrown to the dogs" Bono

The leaking of the album doesn't please Bono, though he admits he's in a tricky position "because people think people like me are overpaid and over-nourished, and they're not wrong.

"What they're missing is, how does a songwriter get paid? There's no space for a Cole Porter in the modern age."

Music is now "tap water"

"It's not the place for rich rock stars to ask for more money," Bono told USA Today, "but somebody should fight for fellow artists, because this is madness. Music has become tap water, a utility, where for me it's a sacred thing, so I'm a little offended."

And Bono's not impressed with the way the record industry has lost billions of dollars in value.

"From punk rock to hip-hop, from heavy metal to country, musicians walk along with a smile and jump like lemmings into the abyss," he says. "The music business has been thrown to the dogs legislatively."

That indifference will vanish once "file-sharing of TV shows and movies becomes as easy as songs," Bono adds. "Somebody is going to call the cops."

Bono's reference to Cole Porter is interesting. The late American songwriter's estate earned $6m per annum (2003), according to Forbes. The money analysis experts also estimated the four members of U2 earned $110m in 2005.

So, Cole Porter vs U2 seems a clear cut story. U2 are way richer.

But does Bono have a point about songwriters' income?