BACKSTREET BOYS, WAL-MART
INK HUGE DEAL

For Duration Of Concert, Boys Will Wear Blue Smocks, Refer To Each Other As "Associates"
As pop fans brace for the Nov. 21 street date of the new Backstreet Boys album, the band, its management company The Firm and retail giant Wal-Mart have entered into an enormous agreement to promote the album's release.

The Backstreet Boys will give a satellite performance that will exclusively broadcast in about 2,000 Wal-Mart stores across the United States. A special Webcast will also be offered at 8 p.m. ET, Nov. 21, on Walmart.com. The program will feature a behind-the-scenes look at the band, as well as exclusive interviews and performances.

The Wal-Mart tie coincides with the release of the group's highly anticipated third album, "Black & Blue," which is expected to be one of the largest-selling records of the year and, perhaps, one of the biggest of all time. Jive and BMG, the pop superstars' label and distributor respectively, are shipping an unprecedented 7 million-plus records to the marketplace this week in an attempt to break first-week sales records and to cover potential consumer demand, sources said.

While no figure has been officially released in regard to the marketing/promotion agreement with Wal-Mart, sources place the massive Backstreet Boys deal to be in the mid-eight figure range.

The deal, which has been in the works for months, calls for Wal-Mart and the Backstreet Boys to offer consumers a bonus track, "What Makes You Different, Makes You Beautiful" as well. The song will only be available on special copies of "Black & Blue" sold exclusively at Wal-Mart and through its Web site. The track will be a featured component of the program slated to screen at Wal-Mart stores.

In addition, Walmart.com will team up with eBay to auction a suit worn by the group's Nick Carter. All five of the Backstreet Boys have signed the suit, and proceeds from its sale will go to group member Howie Dorough's charity, the Caroline Dorough-Cochran Lupus Memorial Foundation.

Meanwhile, talk of a price war among retailers has already begun (hitsdailydouble.com, 11/10). Is one major national retailer preparing to sell the new album at the unprecedented below-wholesale price of $8.99?

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