About 50,000 copies of a live Pearl Jam CD scheduled for exclusive
distribution through Best Buy stores were recalled on Monday after
the retail chain ran into what it calls "copyright issues" in releasing the
The 17-song Give Way CD was announced in Sunday newspaper
advertisements throughout the country as a free gift for those who purchase
the Seattle band's new home video, "Single Video Theory," which hits
store shelves Tuesday (Aug. 4). As far as is known, none of the CDs were distributed to the public. The video itself was not recalled.
"We got them in and had to immediately ship them back," said Mary Weber,
media department staffer at the Best Buy in Bel Air, Md. Asked why the discs were recalled, she said, "We're not allowed to say. It was some kind of legal
Laurie Bauer, a
spokeswoman for the 295-store Best Buy electronics and entertainment chain, said she did not know whether the deal to release the disc -- taken
from an Australian radio broadcast last March -- had been arranged directly
through Pearl Jam or through the band's label, Epic Records, or its parent
company, Sony Music. She also said she had no information about whether a
cease-and-desist letter ordering the recall had been sent to the chain by
Epic or Sony.
Lisa Markowitz, Pearl Jam's spokeswoman at Epic, referred calls concerning
the CD to band publicist Annie Ohayon, who said Tuesday, "We had nothing to
do with it."
Ohayon would not comment on the matter further other than to read a
statement issued by Sony, which said, "Sony Music Entertainment is pleased
that Best Buy has agreed to withdraw its plans to distribute this Pearl Jam
concert recording, which was not authorized by Sony Music or the band."
The publicist dispatched further inquiries to Sony spokeswoman Melanie
Rogers, who did not return calls by press time.
In Chicago, one Best Buy store manager who gave his name only as Randy said
his store had been deluged by dozens of Pearl Jam fans asking about the
Give Way CD. He said his store was supposed to have returned the discs on
Monday, although he did not know if they had been shipped back.
"Single Video Theory" is the first home-video release by the band that has
become famous for ignoring promotional videos. The 45-minute documentary
was shot last year by award-winning director Mark Pellington, who also
filmed the band's video clip, "Jeremy."
"We had unforeseen copyright issues that arose," Bauer said.
"We're working to resolve them."
The live album was announced on Sunday in a 32-page Best Buy circular that
featured a full track-listing for the 70-minute disc. Pictured in the ad
is the CD cover, which features a Yield road sign with the words "Give Way"
on it. The sign is emblazoned over a photograph of a rural road bounded by
green grass stretching off into the distance, a shot similar in theme to
the cover of the group's last studio album, Yield.
The ad, which fills the next-to-last page of the circular, said copies of
Give Way were limited to one per customer, with no rain checks
extended once supplies ran out.
As compensation for the rescinded Pearl Jam CD, Best Buy is now offering
purchasers of "Single Video Theory" any CD in the store valued at $14.99 or
The songs on Give Way were taken from a radio show originally
broadcast by Australia's Triple J radio. The performance was recorded at
Melbourne Park in Melbourne, Australia, on March 5.
The album's full track-listing is: "Release," "Brain of J.,"
"Animal," "Faithfull," "In My Tree," "I Got ID," "Corduroy," "Even Flow," "Spin The
Black Circle," "Given To Fly," "Hail, Hail," "MFC," "State Of Love And
Trust," "Do The Evolution," "Alive," "Black" and "Immortality."