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Pearl Jam’s Boots Have Legs

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They’re doing it again:

    Defying conventional wisdom and their own apprehensions, the Seattle rockers released a live double album for each of the 72 shows on its 2000-01 world tour — a staggering 144 discs. And the band is ramping up for a second avalanche pegged to its 2003 tour.

    Pearl Jam’s unprecedented flood of sanctioned bootlegs was deemed brave by boosters, foolhardy by bean counters. But the band prevailed on two fronts: channeling cleaner sonic quality to bootleg consumers and reaping profits that otherwise might have gone to pirates.

    The sets, in plain brown wrappers titled by city and date, were priced at $16.98 ($10.98 for orders at the fan club Web site, www.tenclub.net). Combined sales reached 1.3 million copies, an average of 18,112 each. The top sellers were Seattle (92,503) and Katowice, Poland (65,125). The runt? Toronto, with a paltry 4,267.

    ….Having examined sales patterns, Pearl Jam is fine-tuning its live album production for next year’s world tour.

    ”My main concern last time was we’d have this glut of the band’s shows in the record bins,” bassist Jeff Ament says. ”And that happened here and there. This time, we’re making it more manageable.”

    The band will sell bootlegs via its Web site for one week after each concert. Only those shows deemed exceptional by band members will be distributed nationally in stores in limited editions of 5,000 each. [USA Today]

A minor but significant point, that the band feels confident selling exclusively via its website.

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