Pearl Jammed

Best Buy forced to withdraw unauthorized live album, 'Give Way,' after Sony files injunction

Pearl Jam's 'Single Video Theory.'
September 17, 1998

Pearl Jam fans who figured that a recent Best Buy promotional giveaway was too good to be true were right. The national electronics chain advertised that the first 50,000 customers to purchase the band's $14.99 home video, Single Video Theory (a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the band's latest album, Yield), would get a free seventeen-song live Pearl Jam CD.

But on August 3rd, the day before Best Buy was set to launch the exclusive offer, the company was threatened with an injunction filed by Sony Music, the owner of Pearl Jam's label, Epic Records. Label brass insisted that the company was never told about the promotion and that neither the band nor its management nor Epic had given its OK for the CD, which was recorded live in Australia by Triple J Radio last March. "The shit hit the fan," says one Sony sales staffer.

Best Buy, which had purchased ads trumpeting the deal in more than fifty major Sunday newspapers, was forced to retrieve all 50,000 CDs, dubbed Give Way. (The entire fiasco cost the chain at least $500,000, one retail source estimates.) Disappointed Pearl Jam fans who flocked to Best Buy to buy Single Video Theory were allowed to select any other $14.99 CD for free.

"Best Buy had some unforeseen copyright issues which we're trying to resolve," says company spokeswoman Laurie Bauer. But according to Sony, Pearl Jam fans won't get a hold of the release any time soon. Once Sony receives all the Give Way copies from Best Buy, it plans to destroy the outlaw discs.

As for how Best Buy got the concert recording in the first place, Bauer isn't saying. But Robert Scott, assistant program director at Triple J Radio, says the station would have to approve release of the concert's broadcast, and "we certainly haven't authorized anyone to use it."

This story is from the September 17th, 1998 issue of Rolling Stone.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next

blog comments powered by Disqus
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Stillness Is the Move”

Dirty Projectors | 2009

A Wim Wenders film and a rapper inspired the Dirty Projectors duo David Longstreth and Amber Coffmanto write "sort of a love song." "We rented the movie Wings of Desire from Dave's brother's recommendation, and he had me go through it and just write down some things that I found interesting, and they made it into the song," Coffman said. As for the hip-hop connection, Longstreth explained, "The beat is based on T-Pain. We commissioned a radio mix of the song by the guy who mixes all of Timbaland's records, but the mix we made sounded way better, so we didn't use it."

More Song Stories entries »