U2’s manager Paul McGuinness has denied that the Irish combo will utilize a Radiohead-style pay-what-you-want setup for their upcoming release, saying that the online scheme “to some extent backfired.” In Rainbows was released last year via a website that allowed fans to enter their own price, or pay nothing at all, in a ground-breaking attempt to work around illegal file-sharing. However, McGuinness says, people went to illegal file-sharing sites for the album anyway. “60 to 70% of the people who downloaded the record stole it anyway, even though it was available for free,” he claimed. His figures may be about right: even in the early days of In Rainbows’ release, illegal downloads rivaled official downloads.
None of this free-thinking ridiculousness for U2, thank you very much. “We will obviously work with whatever technology is available to make the release of the new record as interesting as possible,” said McGuinness, “[but] for U2, physical sales are still an enormous part of our business and we still sell a lot of actual CDs.” Okay, CDs are part of the business, as are hotels, skyscrapers, gaming companies, paintings, musicals about web-weaving superheroes, and poetry. If you’re still interested in CDs, made interesting through some yet-to-be-determined application of technology, U2’s as-yet-untitled new album is now set for an October release.