Bruce Springsteen is going the old-media route to debut his new album, “High Hopes.” Starting Sunday night (Jan. 5), fans can stream the rock icon’s 18th studio release on CBS.com/springsteen, and viewers of the network’s hit drama “The Good Wife” will hear snippets of three songs during the Jan. 12 episode.
“High Hopes” has a release date of Jan. 14, so fans will get a full week-and-change to hear the album on CBS. The stream begins at 10 p.m. ET. The move is a detour from the usual path artists take to stream new music — typically a coveted spot on iTunes.
CBS is currently the top-rated network in terms of weekly total viewers averaging 11.39 million viewers for the week ending Dec. 29, 2013, according to Nielsen TV Ratings data. Meanwhile, CBS Interactive, which is the parent company of CBS.com and also includes such sites as last.fm and CNET, ranked No. 9 with nearly 81 million visitors in comScore’s November rankings of the Top 50 Desktop Web Properties.
According to USA Today, the deal is meant to attract Springsteen’s older fans to the show and to CBS.com. The network paid a licensing fee to use the songs — the title track, “Hunter of Invisible Game” and “The Ghost of Tom Joad” — during the “Wife” episode.
Amazon effectively spoiled the deal on Dec. 28 when its mobile site made the new songs available for purchase as MP3s. Eagle-eyed fans swooped in and acquired the album (you could only buy individual songs) before Amazon shut it down.
The album is The Boss’ first since 2012’s “Wrecking Ball.” It also marks the first album for the E Street Band, Springsteen’s longtime backing band, since the announcement of its induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this April.
“This is music I always felt needed to be released,” Springsteen says in a statement announcing the deal between CBS and his label, Columbia Records. “I felt they all deserved a home and a hearing.”
In addition to the usual cast of players, “High Hopes” also includes Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave guitarist Tom Morello, who appears on eight of the 12 tracks — including on a new version of “The Ghost of Tom Joad” as a vocalist. Late E Street members Clarence Clemons and Danny Federici also make appearances.