CD theft not all that Nice for U2

Rock superstars U2 were counting the cost of a carelessly misplaced CD last week, after a disc containing songs from their forthcoming album disappeared during a photo-shoot in Nice.

French police have launched a major investigation amid fears it may have been stolen to order by bootleggers to make pirate copies, potentially costing the band and their record company millions of pounds in lost revenue.

So far detectives have interviewed more than 20 people, including hairdressers and photographers, who were at the shoot in the Victorine studios at the time.

The missing CD belonged to the group’s lead guitarist, the Edge. It was not clear exactly where he had left it, but in a statement released on the band’s website he said: “A large slice of two years’ work lifted via a piece of round plastic. It doesn’t seem credible but that’s what’s just happened to us ...
and it was my CD.’‘

The band had only recently completed much of the recording of the new album in Dublin. They were in France for the photo-shoot and to complete post-production work in Nice, where lead singer Bono has a house.

After the disappearance the band’s drummer, Larry Mullen, and the Edge were pictured going into a police station near the studio.

Guy Sapata, the police officer in charge of the case in Nice, said that the investigation was ongoing.

“We have already inspected the site where the shoot took place, a private studio in Nice, and have interviewed the 20 or so people who were present at the time the CD went missing.”

He said that as well as the band members there had been numerous technicians, and support staff — French, Irish, British and American — helping with the shoot.

“We are considering a range of possible theories — theft by a fan who simply likes the music, theft by someone who wants to exploit the CD by putting it on the Internet. The CD may also have simply been lost,” Sapata said.

U2’s manager, Paul McGuinness, told the band’s website: “The recording of this album has been going so well. The band is so excited about its release. It would be a shame if unfinished work fell into the wrong hands.’‘

Lucian Grainge, the chairperson and chief executive of Universal Music Group United Kingdom, said: “This matter is of great concern to us. As the missing CD is our property, we’re very keen to find it as soon as possible.’‘

The album, titled Vertigo, is due to be released in November and will be the first new studio album from U2 since All That You Can’t Leave Behind, nearly four years ago.

The group’s management this week called an emergency meeting in London to try to deal with the fallout.

One industry source said the theft could potentially cost the band and their record company upwards of £10-million.

“There is a crucial window period of a week or two after a band release a new album when it will make most of its money. At that point it is crucial to have property protection, so if it has been on the Internet beforehand it will obviously disrupt the whole brand,’’ the source said. — Â

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