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Opinion: Paul McGuinness's insight into bots, touting and band fan clubs was fascinating

by Jim Carroll, Irish Times

Sometimes the answers you're after come from the most unlikely sources. Former U2 manager Paul McGuinness spoke with former Dire Straits manager Ed Bicknell at the International Live Music Conference in London earlier this month. Here were two former high-profile managers chewing the fat over their years in the music business with choice anecdotes for everyone in the audience.

Both McGuinness and Bicknell are astute, experienced players who operated for many years at the very top of the business. They also know that their comments will be circulated beyond the attendance of live music agents and promoters.

Certainly, many ears would have pricked up when the conversation moved to the issue of ticket sales and touting, as McGuinness' former charges U2 have seen sizeable quantities of tickets for their upcoming Joshua Tree tour end up on sites used by touts.

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U2 kept fiddling with their ninth LP long after it hit shelves in early 1997, so here's a new take from live recordings, remixes and re-recordings

by Andy Greene, Rolling Stone

U2 are going all out to celebrate the 30th anniversary of The Joshua Tree this year, complete with a new super-deluxe box set and a stadium tour where they'll play the 1987 LP straight through. Lost in all the hubbub is another major U2 milestone. The 20th anniversary of 1997's Pop came and went this month without a peep from the U2 camp, but that's not really surprising. The electronica-influenced disc polarized fans and critics when it came out. With the exception of the soundtrack to their 1988 film Rattle and Hum, it was their first album that was seen as a disappointment, and it forced them to retreat back to a more traditional U2 sound for 2000's All That You Can't Leave Behind.

Looking back years later, U2 said the album was marred by their foolish decision to book a stadium tour long before it was ready. "Deadlines were looming ominously," Bono said. "Pop never had the chance to be properly finished. It is really the most expensive demo session in the history of music." But during the course of the PopMart Tour they made heroic efforts to fix the thing, releasing new mixes of the songs as singles and fiddling with the live arrangements as the tour progressed. The work continued in 2002 when they released The Best of 1990-2000, which featured new mixes of some Pop songs. If you piece it all together, they practically made an entirely new version of the album. The band never did piece it all together, though, so - as promised on a recent Rolling Stone Music Now podcast - we did it for them. Here's a new version of Pop in the original sequence. It's not better - it's just different.

"I don't see a body of water wide enough, or a wall high enough, to keep these problems from our doors," singer says at Munich Security Conferenc

By Daniel Kreps, Rolling Stone

Bono argued that investments in development and education in third-world countries, and not border walls and executive orders, could prevent extremism during the U2 singer's speech at the Munich Security Conference Friday.

"I don't see a body of water wide enough, or a wall high enough, to keep these problems from our doors," Bono warned.

"The frontier of national interest is no longer the national border. You may not be interested in the trouble on a far-off street or across the Mediterranean on the other side of the globe, but let me assure you, that trouble is interested in you. Our fate is a shared fate. But which fate will it be?"

Longtime U2 fans have launched a campaign to make a film dedicated to U2's most dedicated followers.

by Hot Press

U2 fan and filmmaker David Barry - working with the #strongerthanfear campaign, the U2 Fans Tour Group and The Dream Out Loud team - has launched an ambitious campaign to make a film about the U2 fan base. Dream Out Loud will be a film made by U2 fans about U2 fans and their connection to the music, the band and each other.

To create a professional broadcast-worthy film, Mr. Barry has launched a crowd funding campaign to raise $40,000 to make this historic film. The funds will be spent on travel and crew expenses to film and interview fans in cities during U2's Joshua Tree 30th Anniversary tour this summer. The Dream Out Loud film will also speak with fans from Brazil, Australia, Mexico and many other countries.

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by Erin Hill, People.com

The Lumineers didn't think anything could shock them after their meteoric rise to fame following their 2012 breakout hit, "Ho Hey." But when they learned that they sold out not just one, but two shows at Madison Square Garden this month for their Cleopatra World Tour (following their sophomore album), they were floored.

"It blew my mind," lead vocalist and guitarist Wesley Schultz tells PEOPLE. "MSG is this right of passage -- this gauge of how well you're doing."

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Bassist on how band will approach classic 1987 album onstage, when to expect upcoming studio LP

By Andy Greene, Rolling Stone

Thirty years ago, the wild success of The Joshua Tree transformed U2 into the biggest band on the planet. Radio hits "With or Without You," "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" and "Where The Streets Have No Name" catapulted them from arenas into stadiums and found then hobnobbing with Frank Sinatra, appearing on the cover of Time magazine and sharing the stage with Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and B.B. King. "Certainly looking back on playing the tour at that time, it should have been an extraordinarily, freeing, joyful opportunity," says bassist Adam Clayton. "But it was actually quite a tough time trying to deliver those songs under the pressure of growing from an arena act to a stadium act. I, for one, don't remember enjoying it very much."

He'll probably enjoy it more this summer when U2 take The Joshua Tree on a victory lap three decades down the line. "I think this summer run is almost an opportunity to take it back," he says, "and look at those songs and look at what was going on then and see where we are now." We spoke to Clayton about the impetus for the tour, how the show will be structured, if fans can expect to hear rarities and what's happening with Songs of Experience.

Watch Larry accept the award and talk at the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) conference in Anaheim, California:

Also, check out these clips of Larry Mullen playing drums on these classic U2 songs:

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by Hugh McIntyre, Forbes Magazine

From the moment U2 announced they were going on tour to celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of their album The Joshua Tree, it was sure to be a massive success, but few could have predicted just how incredible the response would have been from fans.

According to Live Nation, the company behind the worldwide tour, over 1.1 million tickets were sold in just a single day, easily making this outing one of the most popular and fastest-selling in history.

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Post-US election, the band are taking time to reconsider their already completed new LP, which they might alter in light of the result

by Mazin Sidahmed, The Guardian

U2 has decided to delay their upcoming album after the surprise victory of Donald Trump, band members said in an interview, as they plan to reconsider certain songs in the wake of a Trump presidency.

Speaking with Rolling Stone, guitarist the Edge said that the band was placing the album's release on hold and taking some "breathing space" to consider what they wanted to say following Trump's ascension to the White House.

"We just went, 'Hold on a second - we've got to give ourselves a moment to think about this record and about how it relates to what's going on in the world,'" the guitarist said.

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