Pearl Jam confirms partnership with Target
By Bill Werde
NEW YORK (Billboard) - As Internet reports suggested, Pearl Jam was indeed recording a Target commercial under the direction of Cameron Crowe last week at Seattle's Showbox theater. But there's more to the story than an exclusive retail relationship.
It has been known that Pearl Jam is no longer under contract, after 18 years of recording for Sony-affiliated labels, and there has been a good deal of speculation about who would release the rock act's next album. Kelly Curtis, who has managed Pearl Jam since day one, conducted a wide-ranging interview with Billboard on Sunday night, confirming that the band's next release -- rumored to be called "Backspacer" and currently scheduled for an early fall release -- would arrive without a U.S. label but backed by a consortium of partners, including Target as the "big box" retail partner.
"We'll have a lot of partners," said Curtis, who confirmed that deals were finished or in the works with an online retailer, a mobile partner, a gaming company and a network or possibly networks of indie retail stores.
"Target ended up allowing us to have other partners. We'll be able to take care of all levels of the Pearl Jam fan ... We wish we could tell the whole story right now, but all the deals aren't done. Target was cool enough to realize that little independent record stores are not their competition." Curtis was quick to note that the album would be for sale via Pearl Jam's fan club, Ten Club.
News of the Target commercial taping broke last week on antiquiet.com, which is also hosting a bootleg recording from the Target taping of a song that Curtis confirmed was called "The Fixer" and is in the running as the album's first single.
Curtis said the Target commercial was only one reason for the Showbox session; with singer Eddie Vedder on tour supporting his solo work for the next month, "we had a narrow window to get some footage," Curtis said. "We shot three or four songs that night." Curtis said that some of the footage may be used for a project that filmmaker Crowe is working on in connection with the band's upcoming 20th anniversary.
LATE-NIGHT TV APPEARANCE
Pearl Jam will play at least one new song Monday night on the debut of the Conan O'Brien-hosted "Tonight Show." "That was booked months ago," Curtis said. "We didn't even know if the album was going to be finished when we booked it." Continued...