Bruce Springsteen will preview his 18th studio release, “High Hopes,” starting Sunday Jan. 5 on CBS.com/springsteen nine days before its Jan. 14 release. And viewers of the network’s hit drama “The Good Wife” can hear snippets of three songs during the Jan. 12 episode.
The “High Hopes” stream will begin at 10 p.m. ET. Streaming an entire album on a network television’s website is unprecedented and something of 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, to some degree, may have 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 said 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.