Kaid Benfield Archive


The wild, the innocent, and the Walmart shuffle: we dropped the ball, says the Boss

Kaid Benfield

Posted February 2, 2009 at 10:16PM

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   a performance in Cardiff (by: Alex Hempton-Smith, creative commons license)  workers protest in Arkansas (by: Ted Swedenburg, creative commons license)

To Bruce Springsteen's fans who were shocked that that their hero gave an exclusive album deal to Walmart, the Boss says it was a mistake.  Longtime music critic Jon Pareles writes in yesterday's New York Times:

"He made another promotional deal he now bluntly calls a mistake. 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' . . .

"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.'"

I'll give the Super Bowl star that one.  He made a mistake, and he said so.  And I like the guy enough that I even titled a book chapter "The Runaway American Dream."  But I won't be rushing out to Walmart to buy the album.