- Pearl Jam, one of the most popular acts on the road, fulfilled its contract with Sony Music’s Epic Records, both of which are units of the Sony Corporation, with the release of its seventh studio album “Riot Act.” Now the band – a group that sells more than half of its CD’s outside the United States, according to its manager Kelly Curtis – is considering myriad options for future releases.
One possibility is a crazy quilt of arrangements that includes signing with major music labels in some countries, aligning with independents in others and releasing albums on their own in America, all to strike a balance of distribution, artistic freedom and commercial control.
“I’ve been trying to look at it almost like a restaurant, where I’m picking each country and choosing what we need off the menu,” Mr. Curtis said. For a particular country, the band might require not only a manufacturer and distributor, but a publicist and radio promoter. “Theoretically, if you’re cutting all these separate deals, you’d be carving out the best possible scenario in each territory” from both a business and artistic perspective.
….Pearl Jam, the reigning survivor of the Seattle grunge music explosion in the early 1990’s, played at Madison Square Garden last week and is scheduled to perform tonight in Holmdel, N.J., as part of a tour that runs through Saturday. As has been its practice lately, the group is selling recordings of each concert. Buyers can download MP3 files of the songs from the Internet within six hours of a show’s end. Finished CD’s, made by Epic, are available within a week or so and are primarily available to order online.
The band’s operation is sophisticated enough to release studio albums on its own, at least in the United States, Mr. Curtis said. The band has also sold 50,000 copies of its self-released “Showbox” DVD this year through its fan club and at concerts. But Pearl Jam is not interested in becoming a full-fledged record label, he said.
….Pearl Jam seems to be in no hurry to sort out its recording future. Mr. Curtis said he hoped to have details sewn up by July 2004.
“What I can say is that we’re not going to do a traditional record deal with anybody,” he said.
I am pleased to see they moving ahead with their own agenda and not taking the easy way out, at least yet.