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Pearl Jam's Big Plans for Target Deal: "Fans Have to Trust Us"

September 1, 2009 12:48 PM ET

Pearl Jam's management has discussed why the band agreed to an exclusive big box retail deal with Target for their upcoming album Backspacer, and now Eddie Vedder and Co. have opened up to Billboard. The bottom line: the agreement passed the band's "moral barometer" and opened up the possibility of cool exclusives for die-hard fans.

The Target deal didn't require Pearl Jam sever ties with the independent record stores or their own Ten Club, and it paved the way for Backspacer to appear on iTunes and greatly improved the band's take on each CD sold, guitarist Stone Gossard told Billboard. Target's Backspacer will come with an option for fans to download Rock Band playable versions of the album's songs on September 20th, the day the album is released, and Billboard hints at a Pearl Jam-branded music video game next year.

"We've put a tremendous amount of thought into this, and we've done it in a way that we think will be good for everybody," Vedder said. "I can't think of anything we've ever done without putting it through our own personal moral barometer. Target has passed for us. The fans just have to trust us."

Like Target's previous exclusive release, Prince's LotusFlow3r three-disc package, there's an extra incentive for fans to purchase Backspacer through the retailer: "Exclusive full-concert downloads," according to the Target site. Billboard explains this means fans will get to select two of a possible 11 concerts for download, and the shows span Pearl Jam's entire career.

As for the album's running length — Backspacer's 11 tracks clock in at 37 minutes, making it the shortest PJ album yet — Vedder says, "The songs come off more like sparkling water than pea soup, and I think that's good for our group right now."

Related Stories:
Pearl Jam Ignite San Francisco as Outside Lands Festival Kicks Off
Target Teams With iTunes For Pearl Jam's "Backspacer" Digital Release
Cameron Crowe's Video for Pearl Jam's "The Fixer" Premieres

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“Santa Monica”

Everclear | 1996

After his brother and girlfriend both died of drug overdoses, Art Alexakis -- depressed and hooked on drugs himself -- jumped off the Santa Monica Pier in California, determined to die. "It was really stupid," said the Everclear frontman, who would further explore his personal emotional journey in the song "Father of Mine." "I went under the water. Then I said, 'I don't wanna die.'" The song, declaring "Let's swim out past the breakers/and watch the world die," was intended as a manifesto for change, Alexakis said. "Let the world do what it's gonna do and just live on our own."

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