U2's new album No Line on the Horizon leaked earlier this week and spread like wildfire on the Internet, but this time around responsibility for the premature release doesn't fall on a journalist with a promo copy or an overeager record store employee. Instead, it was U2's own label that let the tracks out, sabotaging what was arguably Universal Music Group's most anticipated release of the year. (Read Rolling Stone's five-star review of No Line on the Horizon here.)
UMG's Australian branch is being blamed for accidentally leaking the album, offering high quality downloads for purchase from their digital music site Getmusic.au. The downloads, which were being sold roughly two weeks before the album's February 27th Irish release date, were available for about two hours before the error was noticed, Forbes reports. By then, it was too late. The album had been downloaded and passed along via P2P servers and message boards.
Representatives for both Universal and U2 have yet comment, but it's safe to assume they're both enraged. UMG took several preventative measures to ensure the album wouldn't surface before its street date — no promotional copies were mailed to journalists, and reviewers were instead invited to listening parties where recording devices where banned.
Perhaps to reward those U2 fans that weren't tempted by the allure of an illegal leak, No Line on the Horizon is streaming in its entirety legally at the group's official MySpace page starting at some point today, according to a press release. And don't forget, the Irish rockers will set up shop at the CBS Studios in New York for a weeklong residency on The Late Show with David Letterman starting March 2nd.