The money just ran out to shoot in China, so actress Solveig Dommartin and one camera person surreptitiously shot the Chinese scenes in the film (seen on VideoFax in Paris by Eugene) completely on their own.
Wenders sent out a call to his favorite musicians for original compositions for the film and received so much good music he decided not to choose a winner but to use it all. Wenders later admitted without a hint of regret that it was a decision that locked him into epic length.
When filming ended, Wenders confessed, his producers had to literally pull the plug on him for his own good because he wanted to take the film to a conclusion in the African Congo. There, the Pygmies' "dream music" would have brought his characters and themes full circle. As it is, he hit every continent in the film except Africa and South America.
All of the other songs other than U2's "Until the End of the World" were original contributions,although some appeared on subsequent albums or greatest hits albums of the artists. The U2 song, had been previously released on Achtung Baby album (1991), in a different version.
The trivia item below may give away important plot points.
The imagery in the sequences involving recorded brain impulses were achieved with early high-definition video. Wim Wenders and technicians at NHK (the only facility which could play back HD video at the time) worked for six weeks on these sequences, and intentionally distorted the imagery to create strange visual effects; often recording a fast-forwarded version of the image, then playing it back at normal speed.