"The soul is much stronger than any technique. That's what we have."
Column: off the record..., vol. 13-592
November 10, 2013
It's November, and for us early adopters of U2.com, the renewal notices have already started arriving. Live Nation doesn't seem to understand that renewing subscribers do not wish to receive From The Ground Up as the renewal gift again. Like many others, I contacted Live Nation and here is the response I received from Barbara in Customer Service on Friday:
This is the same message many others have been receiving. The Zootopia moderators also suggested waiting, and that perhaps renewals will be delayed by several months, much like what happened a few years ago. If they are delayed, then everyone's subscription will carry over like last time.
Call me a little skeptical, but as a long-time member of U2's fan club, I do not wish to risk my "loyalty" status when there is the prospect of a U2 tour next year and ticket eligibility in fan club presales. In 2010, there were four tiers of fan club eligibility: Horizon, Breathe, Boots and Magnificent. These tiers allowed fans varying degrees of early access to concert pre-sales, which by the end of the tour all seemed to meld into one access time.
I'm not willing to risk my super-loyal status because of the fan club gift. I'd rather haggle with Live Nation about not wanting the current renewal gift than to risk losing my potential earlier access to concert tickets because U2 has decided to not be prepared for us early adopters of their fan club. That said, currently there has been no formal announcement about concerts, pre-sales or fan club status for anything in the future, but I'd rather take my chances and play on the safe side.
Speaking of delays, I have been thinking about why U2 is delaying their new release. We've heard many interesting reasons from the band, but there are two key reasons that I believe they are waiting. First, the competition is fierce for the charts and radio airplay at the moment. We have new releases from Pearl Jam, Arcade Fire, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Eminem, and others. Who wants to compete with "Applause" and "Roar" at the moment? Eminem currently has four songs in the top 20 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart. If Bono's sentiments about relevancy have any merit, then to have a new release coming up against the current competition would put them on edge. (Pun intended.)
The other theory has to do with the interesting approach they are taking with "Ordinary Love." The song had its preview in late October and is the last track on the forthcoming film soundtrack for Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom. Perhaps the band is trying to position it to be a contender for the Golden Globes and the Oscars. There are not many strong choices for the original song categories. The timing of the film makes it eligible for Oscar consideration as it will have a Los Angeles county run beginning on November 29.
If "Ordinary Love" could get the award buzz, it would allow U2 to be in the media spotlight for another award-nominated song during one of the key entertainment media seasons. The publicity of U2 back on the scene would be akin to Elton John's new song previewing at the Emmy Awards in advance of his new album coming out or Justin Timberlake's new song debuting at the Grammy Awards prior to its release. U2 could hit the Grammys on the heels of another potential Golden Globes win with a new single from their new album backed up with the performance of "Ordinary Love."
It almost makes too much sense come to think of it. While it will take a lot of work to submit the song to voters for their consideration, the payoff from it would be huge. If they win, it tackles the relevancy question as it proves, once again, U2 are award-winning musicians. If the song just gets nominated, it gets the band back out into the headlines with relatively little cost.
Not to mention, participating in a Record Store Day event with a rare 10” vinyl record scores points with the hip crowd who still frequent independent record stores and U2 collectors who desire something new for their collection.
If you're wondering where in the world the band members have been this week, we are too. Follow our Twitter account (@atu2) for the most up-to-the-minute updates. In case you missed it, here's our current recap from this week:
Bono: In Ethiopa on Nov. 6 for a One Campaign Africa Policy Advisory Board meeting
Larry: Hanging with Simon LeBon after the premiere of Duran Duran Unstaged in NYC on Nov. 4
We are grateful for all who share the info and allow us to pass it along to our readers.
And finally ... I'm a dog person myself, but these cats-in-tights photos are too funny.
Have a great week!
© 2013, @U2/Lawrence.