Beginning with Pearl Jam’s sold-out concert at the Gorge in George, Wash., on September 1, the band has started releasing high-quality digital downloads of their live shows exclusively at www.pearljam.com. The digital downloads will be available for most of the band’s 2005 Canadian and U.S. dates just hours after each show has ended; they will include special downloadable artwork and a slideshow specific to each night’s show.
Pearl Jam’s “digital bootlegs” will be professionally mixed in real time at each show by Pearl Jam’s longtime studio and live engineer, Brett Eliason. Eliason’s company, Basecamp Productions (www.basecampproductions.com), developed the software application that delivers and manages digital downloads. Pearl Jam has opted to encode the digital files at a higher-than-standard bit rate (192k) to balance manageable file sizes with very good sound quality. The cost is $9.99 per show.
The digital bootlegs are an extension of Pearl Jam’s official bootleg CD program, which was launched on the band’s 2000 world tour; more than 3 million bootlegs have been sold since then. “The concept for the bootlegs has always been about providing high-quality recordings of our shows at an affordable price for the fans,” said the band’s manager, Kelly Curtis. “A lot of the band’s fans want to own a copy of the live show they saw in their hometown or a particularly standout show they hear about from other fans. Making the bootlegs available in digital form is just a natural evolution for the bootleg CD program and a response to more and more fans turning to the Web to buy their music.”