Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

The Boss gets a dig-out from ireland.com

Bruce Springsteen has become the latest act to deal with new business realities for the music industry by giving away his music for free. Ahead of a new album, “Magic”, and a worldwide tour with The E-Street Band, which includes …

Fri, Aug 31, 2007, 10:39

   

Bruce Springsteen has become the latest act to deal with new business realities for the music industry by giving away his music for free.

Ahead of a new album, “Magic”, and a worldwide tour with The E-Street Band, which includes a date at Belfast’s Odyssey Arena on December 15th, Springsteen has made the album’s first single “Radio Nowhere” available as a free download on many different sites (including from Ireland.com).

Giving away a track or two for free has become a popular ploy for acts and labels in recent times who hope that the free samples will lure in an audience who will shell out for a full-length album or for future shows.

While Springsteen is a proven box office draw, radio play for his new music is no longer a given because of tightly controlled radio formats. The belief is that by giving “Radio Nowhere” away for free, Springsteen can bypass conservative radio programmers and go directly to his fans.

Some music business observers have also been riffing on the notion that Springsteen should, like Prince, just give his new album away for free. After all, the logic runs, he will more then recoup the costs of such an audacious move when he tours later this year and in 2008.

However, unlike the Mail on Sunday’s favourite purple pop star, Springsteen still enjoys a lucrative relationship with a major label and shows no signs of seeking to change that situation.

There is also the fact that, at this stage of his career, Springsteen’s contact with Sony-BMG would be very much weighted in his favour, especially when you take his huge and still highly marketable back-catalogue into account.

However, Springsteen’s recruitment to the ranks of free music advocates (albeit on this scale) is significant. It indicates that a heritage act like Springsteen and his advisers are hugely cognisant of the fact that changing music business models bring new challenges – and opportunities.

That the track, which is quite fantastic, has succeeded in building anticipation for the album and live gigs shows that their plan is working.

“Radio Nowhere” is available to download here until Monday. Tickets for Bruce Springsteen & The E-Street Band at the Odyssey Arena, Belfast on December 15 go on sale on September 6th.

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