The first “Saturday Night Live” CD of live performances in nearly 10 years will be sold exclusively at Target retail stores, has learned.

Priced at $13.98, “Live From SNL! Music Performances From Saturday Night Live” will become available nationwide Sept. 9. Culled from the show’s last four seasons (2003/04 - 2006/07), the 11-track compilation features performances by Avril Lavigne, Kelly Clarkson, Maroon 5, Foo Fighters and others. Distributed by Sony BMG Music Entertainment, the CD is produced by Broadway Video Entertainment and NBC Universal Video, Music & Product Development.

In a forthcoming statement being released tomorrow (Sept. 5), Target senior music buyer Sue Peterson says, “This is a great way to present these artists’ frontline records in a unique format for our guests. By creating this exclusive CD, we’re able . . . to further position Target as a true entertainment destination.”

Adds John Ingrassia, president of Sony BMG Music Entertainment’s commercial music group, “The powerful music performances on ‘Saturday Night Live’ have helped to establish the show as a central force in popular culture. We’re pleased to be a part of this special release.”

Minneapolis-based Target’s chain of 1,537 stores in 47 states will display an end cap promotion specially designed to spotlight the upcoming SNL exclusive CD, as well as the featured artists’ frontline records. In addition, the end cap’s remaining slots will be devoted to CDs by other acts who have performed on SNL over the last few years.

Shelli Hill, VP of video, music and product development for NBC Universal Television Distribution, tells that all the featured CDs will carry the same $13.98 price tag as the new SNL compilation. “Since the first SNL CD compilations were released, we have wanted to come up with a very focused promotion,” she says. “We wanted something that was more than just a standard CD and to utilize the credibility of the SNL brand to bring to the forefront some top catalog items.”

The first two entries in the SNL CD series of live musical performances --“Saturday Night Live: 25 Years of Musical Performances, Vol. 1 and 2” -- were general retail releases distributed by DreamWorks Records in September 1999. Available online, the two 15-track volumes featured performances by Paul Simon, Sting, Elvis Costello, TLC, Dr. Dre, Nirvana and Mary J. Blige, among others.

The revamped “Live From SNL!” series builds on Target’s now five-year partnership with NBC Universal. The chain is the exclusive retailer for the company’s “Sounds of the Season” holiday music collection, which includes two compilation CDs and single artist EPs by Enya, Lionel Richie and John Legend. Hill notes that new additions to the holiday series will be announced soon.

While the upcoming “Live From SNL! Music Performances From Saturday Night Live” focuses on rock performances, Hill says NBC Universal is already eyeing separate pop and R&B/hip-hop SNL compilations. A DVD component is also in the works.