Bruce Springsteen's instant bootleg program is starting to materialize, with more details emerging today. The service will allow fans to download complete concerts from his upcoming tour of South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, each show approximately 48 hours after they end.
According to Backstreets, shows will be offered in MP3 (320 KBPS) format for $9.99 and FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) for $14.99. "The Internet has become our friend," Springsteen recently told NPR. "We started out as being very, very controlling. Now it's just a different playing field and so it's exciting."
Word of the program leaked out last week, but fans were initially told they'd have to purchase a $40 USB wristband before they had the ability to download a concert. Most major acts (including Pearl Jam, Phish and Metallica) charge a quarter of that and don't mandate the purchase of anything else. The Springsteen camp had yet to unveil their download program fully, but general fan reaction to the concept of $40 wristbands was extremely negative and a petition calling for a new system garnered 811 signatures in three days.
The petition was closed after Springsteen's manager, Jon Landau, e-mailed the organizer. "Thanks for thoughtful and heartfelt comments," he wrote. "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"
As of now, Bruce Springsteen's only date after the South Africa/Australia/New Zealand tour is the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival on May 3rd, but a recent press release promised that "additional tour dates [are] expected to be announced." It's likely that downloads of those shows will also be offered, but there's been no official announcement of that.