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Pearl Jam’s Dropbox hypocrisy

Apr 09, 2014

FORTUNE -- In 2006, Pearl Jam released a song called World Wide Suicide as the first single from its latest album. It was a personalized tale of rage over the Iraq War, and the U.S. government and media's lack of care for those had been killed in battle. Other songs on the album sounded a similar sentiment, and the band would go on to criticize U.S. involvement in Iraq for years to come. As recently as last November, front-man Eddie Vedder was quoted as saying that "we’re still cleaning up the mess that they made all those years ago."

But apparently five months heals all wounds, because today Pearl Jam effectively partnered up with one of the war's architects:  Condoleezza Rice.

The pairing comes via Dropbox, the cloud-based file-sharing company whose CEO Drew Houston is such a big Pearl Jam fan that he originally named the company Evenflow (Houston also played in a 90's rock coverband called Angry Flannel). And the feelings have been mutual, with Pearl Jam saying that it hosts its demo tracks via Dropbox's service.

Today, Dropbox disclosed that Pearl Jam would become an investor in the company. It also announced that  Condoleezza Rice will become its fourth board member(alongside Houston, co-founder Arash Ferdowsi and venture capitalist Bryan Schreier). No word yet on how large Pearl Jam's position will be, or the details of Rice's compensation.

Look, I understand that business and politics can make strange bedfellows. But Pearl Jam has spent the better part of a decade slamming the morality of decisions made by people like Rice, whose current day job is to run a consulting firm co-founded by Stephen Hadley, a fellow Iraq hawk within the Bush Administration who eventually would succeed Rice as National Security Advisor. Now Pearl Jam is investing in a company where Rice will be a very important voice (again, one of just four board members).

A fan like Houston is not obligated to abide by all of his favorite band's song lyrics. But for the band itself to so callously disregard them... well, it makes it a bit harder to remain a fan.

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