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Column: off the record..., vol. 8-301

@U2, April 06, 2008
By: Matt McGee


off the record, from @U2

So much to talk about...where to start? How about we start with internal @U2 stuff? Yeah, that'll work.

You may have noticed that I'm not writing OTR every week, even though the heavy lifting on U2, A Diary has come and passed. This is now a permanent change. OTR will be written by a different staffer each week, although I'll be in the rotation to write at least once a month. There are two main reasons why OTR will be a group effort going forward:

  • It allows more staffers to get their names on the site consistently (which allows you to get to know them better, too).
  • It frees me up to work on other important @U2 stuff that I need to be working on, stuff that was delayed while I wrote U2, A Diary.

On that second point, we're way behind schedule on a few things around here -- stuff that I can't delegate to others. Here are two of those things:

  1. Redesigning @U2. One of our goals for this calendar year is to update @U2, which will happen at the same time we move the site to a newer, faster server at OWT (our web host). If you're an excellent web designer, use our contact form to email me some background about yourself, and preferably a link to your design portfolio.
  2. Finding another Podcast Producer. Teresa C. stepped away from @U2 a couple months ago, and she was so good we're looking for two people to fill her shoes! Actually, we already found one: Jaime Rodriguez just came on board this week to help put together the podcasts, but we've been thinking for some time that we want to have a rotation of at least three producers. We'll be looking for one more person to join Khoa and Jaime in that role.

So, that's just some of the stuff going on. We should also have the entire set of U2 band biographies updated soon. And the Dublin Guide may be getting a makeover soon, too. We're always busy, but you know that by now. :-)

Live Nation and U2, eh? I think it's not the Big News it was made out to be this past week -- U2 has already been working with these folks for years. The LN organization has already been producing U2's shows, handling U2's merchandise, and running the official web site and fan club. Nothing really new there, except perhaps for Bono's very curious statement about

"With regards to, we feel we've got a great website, but we want to make it a lot better. We want a closer, more direct relationship between the band and its audience and Live Nation has pledged to help us with that."

There's tremendous irony in there: If you want a more direct relationship with the fans, logic says you eliminate the middleman. The fan club used to be a direct line between the band and fans (in the Propaganda days), but now there's a Big Business (Live Nation/Fanfire/Signatures Network) in between us. Should be interesting to watch how that unfolds.

The most newsworthy aspects of the announcement? Try these:

U2 will be using a new, Live Nation ticketing system for its next tour. The ticketing system is supposed to be ready in 2009, so that's the earliest we'll see a tour. This means no more Ticketmaster, which is certainly cause for celebration. On the other hand, as a friend said on a mailing list a few days ago: "A brand new ticketing system being stress-tested by a fan base the size of U2's...what could possibly go wrong?" Good point.

It's a 12-year deal with Live that means we can expect U2 staying active until 2020??? Wow. Whaddya think we'll have between now and then? One album? Two? ;-)

I'm kidding. (I kid because I love.)

If you need something to distract you while online, how about streaming U2 videos around the clock? has setup a U2 TV channel of sorts here: I had to put this link at the end of the column because you'll never come back and read the rest once you end up over there.

And finally...for the few who haven't clicked through just yet, staffer Phil R. found Edge's next fashion statement: the Personal Soundtrack Shirt. I can so see him wearing that.

Until next time...

@U2, 2008.

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