Pearl Jam - bullseye.
Pearl Jam - bullseye.

Pearl Jam are copping a lot of criticism the last few days. It has come to light that their next album, rumoured to be called ‘Backspacer‘, will be an exclusive release at Target stores (in the US only). This rings false against the band who publicly fought off Ticketmaster, pioneered recyclable CD packaging and are generally, lets face it, hippies. But look further and we think Pearl Jam are doing the right thing.

The press is focusing on the Target story, they have missed the caveat. The agreement with Target allows Pearl Jam to release their album in “a number of smaller, independent stores” (according to Digital Music News). Is that not the prefect solution in this day and age?

Where some press have taken the indie store additions as an afterthought – they are no competition to Target – we think it’s the main piece here. Pearl Jam are far too big to release their albums in just Indie shops. But that’s the world they come from, they are not leaving them behind. It’s only in the arena of big box chains that Pearl Jam are having an exclusive. Are PJ fans and the Indie Police really against Pearl Jam‘s decision to not have their records in Wal Mart or Best Buy?

For us, it hits all the right buttons. Music lovers can support their local music store. Casual fans of Pearl Jam, who number the millions, can go to Target. They were never going to walk into a record store anyway. And Target will pump advertising and marketing into the album for the exclusive – exposure that the indie stores will benefit from. Of course, there will be a digital version that you can buy from your couch.

This is very different from AC/DC, who screwed indie retail over with their last album. You had to go to Wal Mart. No other choice at all.

This type of retail exclusive has not branched out of the US yet. The US is more it’s own island. Europe with so many countries around make this model almost impossible. We don’t like it, and we hope it’s a trend that will pass. But somehow we don’t think so.

And back to the music…we love Pearl Jam and wait patiently for the record. They are out of contract with Sony now. They are such progressive, forward thinking fellows. We can’t wait to see what they do now that they are one of the biggest independent bands in the world.

Pearl Jam official site –

We love Stereogum, and they broke the story –

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