Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Hello, Holland!

U2 and Jay-Z blew through town last week, and jetted off to Oz - I went along and enjoyed the spectacle, my review is over here. Their U2 360 tour winds up next July.

By then, according to this NZ Herald story, they are expecting "it will have generated about $1 billion in revenue." This would be great news for cash-strapped Ireland, except U2 pay taxes in Holland. Bummer, Ireland.

Mark Thomson kindly sent me a link from the New York Times which backgrounds the shift to Holland as a tax haven.  It's titled The Netherlands, the new tax shelter hot spot. U2, the Rolling Stones, EMI, Elvis Presley's estate and David Beckham also use the Netherlands now.

U2 shifted their publishing to Holland last June, as Ireland's lucrative tax breaks were about to be removed. The NYT says U2's net worth is around $US908 million.

The NZ Herald's Adam Gifford went along to the U2 show as a guest of one of the technology companies involved in the show. Some facts and figures... "the Clair sound system is billed as the largest speaker assemblage in touring history...

...On previous tours U2 cancelled shows because of weather damage to video screens. The 500,000 LED pixels in the transforming screen are weather resistant, and they're made up into elongated hexagonal segments mounted in a way that allows them to spread apart with a scissor-like motion during parts of the concert..." There's 14 cameras providing live feeds for the video screen.

"The tour's architect, Mark Fisher, told CNET News that ... the technology behind U2 360° isn't new, the way it's being used is, from the large number of computers and electric motors that control the motion of the screen and the moving lights to the computers that map the video picture on to the transforming screen. "All of this automation and programming is possible because the computers available in 2009 (when the tour started) are more powerful and cheaper than they were when we created the Vertigo tour in 2005," Fisher said.

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