Bruce Springsteen has always had a flair for the cinematic, what with his musical stories about New Jersey down-and-outers striving to make the big time. Now “The Boss” is acting like the marketing head of a movie studio, choosing a TV show to help get the word out about his latest album.
To generate publicity for “High Hopes,” a collection that relies heavily on covers and rarities, Springsteen will allow the new songs to be streamed first on CBS.com, while the CBS network will highlight the disc’s availability on its website during a sneak preview after the January 5th episode of “The Good Wife” of the following week’s program. The album will be available on CBS.com/Springsteen after the broadcast on Sunday, Jan. 5 through Monday, Jan. 13 at 7:00 PM eastern time.
Meanwhile, during the January 12th episode of that drama, three songs from the new Springsteen work will figure prominently during the hour.
CBS said the collaboration with Springsteen marked the first time the website for its network had been used to host an album’s debut – a move that is certain to infuriate both online and traditional music retailers, but also a signal of how pivotal TV can be in drawing attention to a new piece of much-anticipated content. Indeed, many movie studios use TV shows as means of showing off extended trailers of coming attractions.
While Springsteen’s presence in a TV show may be unique – but not unheard of; tunes ranging from “Atlantic City” to “Stolen Car” were used as the basis for a 2006 episode of The Eye’s “Cold Case” – TV has long been used as a venue to draw attention to new music. Shows like ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” and The CW”s “Gossip Girl” regularly use new songs to accent the on-screen action, while other dramas like Fox’s “Glee” and ABC’s “Nashville” use songs in more obvious ways to comment on the dramas’ storylines.
More musicians have come to rely on both TV shows and the commercials that support them as a way to gain notice for their new efforts. Traditional radio and music videos still exist, but the former is often restricted by tight playlists that may not have room for an aging veteran like Springsteen or a rookie, and the latter are no longer in heavy rotation on many TV networks that once made music their focus.
“High Hopes.” Springsteen’s 18th collection, is slated for release on January 14, 2014. The album, which was recorded in New Jersey, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Australia and New York City, features Springsteen with members of the E Street Band as well as guitarist Tom Morello, best known from his tenure with Rage Against The Machine, among others.