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"These are not really for the casual follower; it’s for the hardcore fan. We record every show anyway, so it was cheap and easy—kinda like your average HITS employee."
—Manager Kelly Curtis

PEARL JAM COMES ALIVE—25 TIMES

Respectable Sales Projected For
Envelope-Pushing Multiple Release
There's only one way to beat bootleggers: make your own.

This Tuesday (9/26), Pearl Jam released 25 live double CDs, one from each night of last spring's European tour, minus the tragic show at the Roskilde Festival, where nine audience members were killed. Selling at a single-disc list price, the CDs are packaged in bootleg-style brown cardboard, without an Epic or Sony Music logo. Selling at a single-disc list price, the CDs are packaged in bootleg-style brown cardboard, without an Epic logo. The band put a small "stamp of approval"—a man and a monkey—on the cover of six discs as a way guidepost for fans.

Based on first-day sales, the show recorded June 16 Spodek Arena in Katowice, Poland—shorthanded as "Disc 16"—looks to sell in the 8-9k range, and a handful of the others, including Milan, Italy ("20") and the second night at Wembley Arena ("5"), doing near 5k.

The discs were first made available, at a reduced price, Sept. 5 on the group's Web site.

According to band manager Kelly Curtis, putting out 25 CDs all at once is "easier than releasing 25 records every other week for the next year. These are not really for the casual follower; it's for the hardcore fan. We record every show anyway, so it was cheap and easy—kinda like your average HITS employee."

Said Epic VP Marketing Chris Poppe, after we told her we were from Kerrang: "It's not your typical album release, where you do P.O.P, a marketing campaign and TV. The approach to retail was not a hard sell. We just said, ‘Here's an opportunity to buy live CDs from Pearl Jam, a great live band.'"

On the retail front, Music Millennium's Terry Currier agrees that the label didn't try to load him up, but the quantity is daunting. "We're taking a whole endcap so people can see all 25 titles. The packaging is so similar, it's going to be hard for people to really decipher which one to buy. I think it's going to be very confusing to the consumer, as well as some record stores."

The band plans to release a live CD of every concert they perform from here on out, which could result in another 75 live discs within the next 12 months. "The coolest thing would be to release the CD of a show that night," Curtis says. "I think by the time we tour next year, we'll be able to do it. I've talked to people who can press 1,000 CDs within 20 minutes after a show."

Whoa—that's even faster than Napster.

(Reporting for this article was done by David Simutis)

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