Last night, stalwart Seattle rockers Pearl Jam performed a new track on Conan O'Brian's debut as the new host of the Tonight Show. Will it boost sales for Pearl's Jam fall-slated record? The Target Corporation hopes so.
Oh horror of horrors, Pearl Jam are the latest band to shake hands with a box store retail devil, making Target their prefered big box retailer for their next album, reportedly titled Backspacer. As for its availability in Canadian retail, the picture still isn't clear since Target doesn't exist north of the border. But according to wiki, Universal will carry the record internationally so it could be business as usual around our parts.
Prince, Guns ‘n Roses, Springsteen, Eagles and ACDC among others have all previously gone this route but Pearl Jam appears to be drawing the loudest of critics. It could be perhaps that PJ are seen as the "people's band," mainly from their constant battles with Ticketmaster to protect fans from service fee gouging.
Adding fuel to the fire is a report that Cameron Crowe used a recent intimate Pearl Jam performance at the Showbox in Seattle to shoot a commercial for Target.
I'm sorry, but Eddie Vedder doing commercials? Isn't this the band that staunchly refused to do music videos for over a decade, not to mention interviews and pretty much all publicity? And didn't Crowe win an Oscar once upon a time? He must have owed Vedder a solid.
Pearl Jam's deal with Target essentially means they will get one juicy paycheque from Target as well as a big marketing push, which is something the majors are becoming increasingly feeble at.
And speaking of majors, Pearl Jam are severing ties with J Records, a subsidiary of Sony, which housed the band since their debut, Ten, came out on the Epic. Does a day go by without at least one kick to the nuts of the major labels?
To those crying foul on "money hungry" Pearl Jam, reconsider how many units the band will actually sell these days. The tour profile is deceptive because they have a Dave Mathews-like following but general public interest has vastly diminished.
If you're not within the diehard fan community you may have noticed it's been a downward trajectory for this band since their grunge classic, Ten. Yeah, Vs. had some good cuts but can anyone outside of their core base name a single tune from No Code, Riot Act, Yield or Binaural? Doubtful.
Even Got Some on prime time Conan last night was expectedly underwhelming.
This band just can't write the same kind of songs they once did 17 years ago, and expect whatever album sales Target is hoping for to reflect that. If you think Pearl Jam is selling out over getting in bed with a box store then you've clearly put the band on an undeservedly high pedestal.