Bruce Springsteen fans may have soon have the ability to download complete concerts from the Internet, possibly beginning this month when the tour resumes with a series of shows in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Springsteen manager Jon Landau let Backstreets in on the news at SiriusXM headquarters when Bruce was visiting for an interview on E Street Radio.
"Plans aren't totally hammered out yet," the report said, "but it's something they want to try, potentially after each show, and he says Bruce is on board with the idea. Active discussions are ongoing and in the logistics phase; there are even hopes to make something happen in time for the next leg."
Bands like Pearl Jam have been allowing fans to purchase individual concerts for roughly fifteen years, and these days everyone from Phish to Metallica offers high-quality downloads of every show on their tours. It's a recognition that it's impossible to stop bootlegs, and it provides people with a perfect souvenir from their favorite shows.
Bruce Springsteen is one of the most bootlegged artists of all time. There are thousands upon thousands of hours of concerts and studio outtakes widely available on the Internet, and the Springsteen camp has done little to clamp down on this practice. They even allow E Street Radio to broadcast bootlegs, but they've been extremely reluctant to officially release live recordings.
Springsteen's legion of hardcore fans have been clamoring for official bootlegs for years, but according to Backstreets it took a conversation with Matchbox 20 frontman Rob Thomas to finally convince Springsteen it was a worthwhile plan. Nothing is confirmed right now and it's unclear when they will begin offering the downloads and how exactly they will roll them out. "We're trying to keep the surprises coming," Landau said. "I think we are."
In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Springsteen was asked about the possibility of releasing classic concerts. "Do people need them anymore?" he asked. "Don't they just go on the Internet and find them? I suppose it would be nice to get some of the classic concerts that have kept people's interest over the past 20, 30 or even 40 years and maybe formalize them in some way. That's not off the drawing board either. It's all there."