Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Pearl Jam - New Album, New Single, New Video Game & Target?!?

It has been a busy last couple of days for the men of Pearl Jam. Rumors began circulating last week that Pearl Jam were going to play a secret show at the Showbox in Seattle. Given the fact that they are currently recording a new album, heading out on a brief tour of Europe and playing a handful of North American dates, this seemed like a typical warm up gig to look under the hood and kick the tires. Then word spread that Director and long time friend, Cameron Crowe was going to film the show. Could this really be happening? Was it a new DVD? They aren't actually going to put out a video, or a single, are they? Just hours before debuting "Got Some" on Conan's new gig, Pearl Jam's manager shed some light on the show and future plans...

Pearl Jam is currently unsigned and have no intentions of signing to a label for the upcoming release, Backspacer. This really isn't a shock, since they managed to go without a label on their last record as well, with a label only handling the distribution deals. The shocking part is that Pearl Jam will in fact partner up with Target as an exclusive large retailer. The secret show last week, was actually a commercial filmed with actors. Needless to say, a few fans are pissed.

Since I have the podium, I'll tell you that I completely support what they are doing, and have absolutely no problem with them selling the record exclusively at Target. My reasoning with that is because the "exclusive" isn't really that exclusive. Confusing, I know. Pearl Jam will make the album available for purchase through their website, independent record stores and Target. That's it. You can't buy it at Best Buy, or Wal-Mart, your options are limited. While we are on the subject, I would encourage everyone to buy it directly from PJ's site. Their last album arrived at my door BEFORE the release date and with an extra live disc from '92.

Almost immediately people began to yell "Sell Out" and cry hypocrisy, but this is the nature of the business and without a label, they really are doing the best that they can. If you sign to a major label, you do not own your master recordings, you share a large percentage of the profit with the label and get distributed to anyone willing to buy. At least now, Pearl Jam can release anything they want, whenever they want and still get it out across the country. I will say that I am surprised by their actions of late, but if a major label is not going to get them on talk shows, booked for concerts, generating income and buzz, they got do it on their own, and boy have they been working.

Last night's performance was not their best, but I'm anxiously awaiting the album and I'm sure they picked up a few viewers who weren't even expecting to see them. Next up a wave of commercials, although I have yet to see Target really advertise any release. Prince's latest was mentioned briefly, but not plastered across the country. Last, but certainly not least, two weeks ago Pearl Jam gave fans notice that they were receiving their own edition of Rock Band. Yup, they have a video game. In typical fashion and possibly because they want to give Sony/Epic a final "fuck you", the version will be comprised of only live versions. Those live versions are currently being voted on by fans, so it will definitely satisfy the hardcore fans. The band that hid for so many years is coming out to play...

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