In response to our reporting yesterday of a new Pearl Jam song being unveiled at a video shoot, many fans are skeptical about the part of the story that claims the shoot was for a commercial for retail giant Target. This skepticism is seemingly supported by Pearl Jam’s well-established reputation for shunning corporate endorsement with insolent flair, as well as by reports that esteemed director Cameron Crowe was on the scene.
However, we’ve confirmed through multiple, somewhat reliable sources that Pearl Jam’s new album, due out this fall, will in fact be retailed exclusively by Target. And if the rest of the story is true, it wouldn’t be anything new for Crowe; big-time directors direct uncredited TV spots more often than most people are aware. Since 2002, Crowe has been no exception, beginning with an ad for the Gap, starring Kate Beckinsale and Orlando Bloom.
Before you freak out, we’re told that the deal with Target only applies to retail, and allows for the still label-free Pearl Jam to continue to sell this album on their own and through their fan club, as usual. As our resident Pearl Jam superfan Johnny Firecloud recently ranted on a message board, “When have they not stood head and shoulders above any other band in looking out for their fans… in deciding which cause to support or which flag to fly? That’s right- never… Whatever deal has been worked out, I think it’s pretty safe to say the guys know what they’re doing.”
This song to be featured in the Target commercial will reportedly be debuted Monday night, as performed on the premiere of The Tonight Show With Conan O’Brien. Claims that the song is called The Fixer as opposed to Something’s Going On are rampant, yet so far unsubstantiated. We’ll find out soon enough.
UPDATE, 06/01: The band’s manager, Kelly Curtis, has confirmed the Target deal in an exclusive interview with Billboard. As Curtis had said before, the band had always intended to make deals with “a number of partners.” To those with feathers ruffled over the band aligning with a big, bad corporation, Curtis asserted, “Its important to remember we just got out of this 18 year relationship with Sony, and I’m pretty sure they are a bigger corporation than Target. We have the freedom to pick our partners and more control when we’ve ever had before.”
Other new revelations: The song is indeed called The Fixer. It may or may not be the single to be released officially in July, and it may or may not be performed tonight on The Tonight Show tonight. Pearl Jam’s new album, only rumored to be entitled Backspacer, remains slated for an early fall release. As I theorized in the comments section, Universal Music Group will distribute the album internationally.
The footage from the Showbox performance will indeed be used for a Target commercial promoting the new album, but it may also be integrated into a Pearl Jam documentary that Cameron Crowe has been working on for quite awhile, to be released in 2011 in honor of the band’s 20th anniversary.
“Target was cool enough to realize that little independent record stores are not their competition,” Curtis said. And addressing anyone currently doubting their faith in the band, “I make decisions around the band’s business that are consistent with their overall philosophy… Which is to sell music in a way that’s accessible and affordable to their fans, on every distribution platform that their fans access music, and in a way that takes care of the little guys.”