More Ways To Download Springsteen?

When Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band begin their international tour in South Africa this weekend, it will mark the first time official concert downloads will be available to fans.  Now there are rumblings that there may be more than one way to download The Boss.

Photo: AP Photo / NTB Scanpix, Stian Lysberg Solum
Telenor Arena, Forneu, Norway

Last week it was announced that recordings of individual concerts from Springsteen’s South Africa run and the New Zealand / Australia tour would be made available within 48 hours of each performance.  But there is a catch.  In order to acquire a download, you need to purchase a USB wristband priced at $40, either from the venue or online.   

 But not all fans are happy with that arrangement. A petition posted on pointed out that the wristband downloads would be formatted as MP3s and that the $40 price was a bit steep when compared to official MP3 concert downloads offered by other bands.  The petition also asked that lossless downloads, preferably in the FLAC format, be made available.

The petition had received 811 signatures during the first three days, according to Rolling Stone, when it was closed by its author, Joe Piechowski.  In an update posted Jan. 22, Piechowski explained why he closed the petition and what may be in store regarding downloads.

“I received an email from [Springsteen’s manager] Jon Landau today.  He wrote: ‘Thanks for thoughtful and heartfelt comments.  All I can say is that the wristband is the first piece of what we are going to be doing and there is a whole lot more to come. …JL’”

Now it looks as if petitioner Piechowski and Springsteen fans will get what they asked for. Springsteen chronicler Backstreets says it has confirmation that direct-to-computer downloads will be made available in addition to the USB wristbands.  What’s more, Backstreets reports the downloads will be available in two audio formats – MP3 (320 kbps) and FLAC. 

Backstreets also says “pricing will match Pearl Jam’s, at $9.99 for MP3 and $14.99 for FLAC.” 

The direct-to-computer downloads will cover the South Africa and New Zealand/Australia shows, according to Backstreets, which says if fans support it, it will be “hard to see why they’d stop there.”