On Jan. 13 a $10 collection of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band’s “Greatest Hits” — 11 songs from a 1995 hits anthology, as well as “Radio Nowhere” from “Magic” — went on sale exclusively at Wal-Mart. Since Wal-Mart has been accused of anti-union practices by Human Rights Watch, among others, and has paid large fines for violating labor laws, the announcement prompted online criticisms like the one from asroma on the fan site backstreets.com: “Bruce is doing biz with Wal-Mart? Kind of goes against everything he stands for.”
In an interview with Billboard, Mr. Springsteen’s manager, Jon Landau, defended the release, saying Mr. Springsteen’s albums were already in Wal-Mart, which accounts for 15 percent of his sales. He also said: “We’re not doing any advertising for Wal-Mart. We haven’t endorsed Wal-Mart or anybody else. We’re letting Sony do its job.”
But Mr. Springsteen said the decision was made too hastily. “We were in the middle of doing a lot of things, it kind of came down and, really, we didn’t vet it the way we usually do,” he said. “We just dropped the ball on it.” Instead of offering the exclusive collection to Wal-Mart, “given its labor history, it was something that if we’d thought about it a little longer, we’d have done something different.” He added, “It was a mistake. Our batting average is usually very good, but we missed that one. Fans will call you on that stuff, as it should be.”
Full New York Times story here.