September 26, 2008 , 3:10 PM ET Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.
Best Buy is set to be the exclusive retailer for Guns N' Roses decade-plus-in-the-making new album "Chinese Democracy" before year's end, sources close to the situation tell Billboard. Some details of the deal are still being worked out, including the release date.
The news brings a semblance of closure to the bizarre history of "Democracy," which Guns N' Roses has been working on since the mid-1990s. Since then, every original member of the once mighty group has left besides vocalist Axl Rose, and millions of dollars have been spent working on the new material.
"Democracy" was most recently on the Interscope release schedule in March 2007. The endless delays encountered by the project reached comic levels this spring, when soft drink manufacturer Dr Pepper offered to send a free can of the beverage to "everyone in America" (excluding ex-GNR members Slash and Buckethead) if "Chinese Democracy" were to arrive anytime during the calendar year 2008.
In June, nine purported "mastered, finished" tracks from the album were leaked online, prompting an FBI investigation into their source. A sign "Chinese Democracy" was perhaps finally nearing release came in July, when the band agreed to debut new track "Shackler's Revenge" in the video game "Rock Band 2," which hit stores earlier this month.
Guns N' Roses is now managed by Irving Azoff's Front Line Management, and Azoff is a well-known proponent of issuing albums exclusively through retailers. He released the Eagles' "Long Road Out of Eden" through Wal-Mart in 2007, much to the chagrin of other merchants, but the album was a runaway hit, having sold 3.1 million copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
I think we can probably move actual REVIEWS (if indeed there are any) to a new thread. In fact, I probably should have just started a new thread with this post in it. Oh, well. You start it. I'm putting a bullet in this one.