Tracks from U2’s new album have appeared on the internet illegally after Bono played them too loudly at his holiday villa on the French Riviera.
A Dutch fan of the group heard the music blaring out of the beachside home in the village of Eze-sur-Mere, near Nice, and recorded them on his mobile phone.
He then boasted about his achievement on U2 fan site ‘ Interference.com ’ before putting them on YouTube.
Although U2 has managed to remove the four leaked songs from YouTube because of “copyright violations”, they have not been able to stop people trading them via email.
The quality is said to be poor – the noise of waves crashing on the beach and seagull cries can be heard – but the new development in the world of pop piracy is said to have concerned U2 greatly.
“They see Eze as a place where they can get away from it all, and play music as loud as they like,” said a near neighbour in the village. “Bono had the tracks playing on his stereo and people heard them outside, but nobody expected them to be recorded.”
The album, which is expected to be titled ‘No Line On The Horizon’, is U2’s first for four years.
It has been recorded in conditions of absolute secrecy, with the band even hiring an isolated house in the medina of Fez, Morocco, to finalise some of the tracks.
Based on the information available on the web yesterday, the leaked tracks were called ‘Moment Of Surrender’, ‘For Your Love’, ‘Sexy Boots’, and ‘No Line On The Horizon’.
In January, U2 manager Paul McGuiness attacked music pirates, claiming internet service providers (ISPs) had “enjoyed a bonanza” over the past few years by accepting fees from illegal downloaders while doing nothing to prevent them from stealing music.
Mr McGuiness called on ISPs to disconnect users caught obtaining music illegally.
“Their snouts have been at our trough feeding free for too long,” said Mr McGuinness.
It is not the first time that U2 has been at the centre of a piracy scandal.
In 2004, tracks from the band’s last album, ‘How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb’, were leaked after a CD was stolen from one of their photo shoots in the south of France.
U2 has sold more than 170 million albums worldwide and has won more Grammy awards than any other band.
Eze-sur-Mere is hugely popular with holidaymakers because of its position on a beach below a medieval village which dates back to the 12th century.