Over the weekend, rumors that alt-rock stalwarts Pearl Jam were going to release their forthcoming album (their first one that won’t be released via a Sony Music subsidiary) via Target percolated all around the Internet, thanks to a Cameron Crowe-directed video shoot that was apparently set to double as a commercial for the album’s availability at the big-box retailer. After the news sent the blogosphere into an NDA-violating tizzy, Pearl Jam’s manger Kelly Curtis gave Billboard the scoop on Backspacer, which will come out this fall. If Curtis’ prediction bears out, the Target deal will only be one piece of cloth in a retail quilt that will include indie stores, the band’s fan club, and an as-yet-unnamed cell phone company:
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 come without a U.S. label, but 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 also finished or in the works with an online retailer, a mobile partner, a gaming company and with 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 also quick to note that the album would be for sale via Pearl Jam’s fan club, Ten Club.
Meanwhile, the band took to the debut episode of The Tonight Show With Conan O’Brien last night to debut one of the tracks from the new album. It would appear that Conan’s studio in the Los Angeles suburbs is dealing with many of the same sound woes as the one belonging to Tonight‘s NBC-mate Saturday Night Live, but as with every release by this band, I am vaguely intrigued to hear the recorded version.