WikiLeaks reveals new Springsteen contract, with release plans

Last Thursday, April 16th, Wikileaks published 30,287 documents and 173,132 emails from Sony Music. Amongst the thousands of documents, there are a few revealing details about Columbia’s new deal proposal to the artist.

wikileakssonyThe document goes into a lot of economical details (higher royalty rates, a $31-million advance, a contract extension until June 2027, etc), including details of the benefits the 2005 contract brought to Columbia ($73-million on top of the $101-million paid to Springsteen)

SonyArchivesMost interesting for Springsteen fans are the details of the release plans for the next 12 years, which include 13 projects (besides the current Archival Series):

  • 4 new studio albums (delivered at least 12 months apart)
  • 1 anniversary box set, with 3 CDs, for the Born in the USA album
  • 1 anniversary box set, with 3 CDs, for the The River album
  • 1 anniversary box set, with 2 CDs, for the Nebraska album
  • 1 box set with 3 or 4 discs with unreleased songs (the second volume of Tracks)
  • 5 complete live-concert albums
    (the box sets and live albums will be released at least 6 months apart)

The company proposes to release the Born in the USA box set first (considering the annual decline in sales of CDs), followed by The River box set, and last but not least, the Nebraska set.

One of the clauses specifies Springsteen “will have the right to sell downloads of his live concerts directly or through third parties”. And if you’re wondering about the sound quality of the archival series, here is another detail indicated in the clause: “The artist and Columbia are to coordinate marketing and release plans for our respective live albums, with Columbia’s releases intended to be higher quality recordings”.

Considering the archive releases started last November, it may well mean the agreement went forward, though there’s no official confirmation of that.

RequestforApprovalThe new contract also specifies Springsteen has total control over the production of all recordings and their contents, and accepts the artists’ claim about “incorrect royalty calculations and improper deduction of foreign taxes” from Jan. 2007 to June 2012. 

With the new deal Springsteen would stay at Columbia at least until June 30, 2027 (if he has delivered all 13 products by then) or two years after delivering the last of the products.  In the emails between the Sony execs they admit “it’s obviously a rich deal given his stature”, but “this is not an artist we can afford to lose”.


WikiLeaks posts Sony emails; Springsteen Deal (
Sony Leak. Bruce Springsteen Gets Rich New Contract (ShowBiz411)

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The Top Ten shows that Bruce Springsteen should release from his archives

_44198189_bruce22by Glenn Radecki *

In a live interview on Sirius’s “E Street Radio” channel on May 18, 2014, prior to the last show of the High Hopes Tour, Bruce spoke generally about his future plans, and mentioned potential archival releases of past shows.

In November, a dedicated page on Bruce’s website was unveiled and the Apollo Theater show from March 2012 prior to the start of the Wrecking Ball tour was announced as the first in a series of archive releases.  To date, three more shows, including some of the E Street Band’s greatest performances, have been released: the August 9, 1978 show from Cleveland; the December 31, 1975 show from Philadelphia; and the December 31, 1980 show from the Nassau Coliseum.

Yet the interview that Brad Serling of gave to Backstreets is what truly tantalizes, with the revelation that there is “a working list of 30 shows ‘spanning Bruce’s entire career’ under consideration” for release.

There were of course no shows specifically mentioned, but the interview with Serling offers a few clues, including his experience that some of the best selling archival recordings for other bands are the shows that fans have had in their collection for many years.

One final consideration, of course, is the availability of a sufficient quality copy of the show in Bruce’s archives. It is presumed here that this is not an obstacle for recent shows, which is likely one of the reasons why the Apollo Theater show was chosen as the first download: it was ready and available for release. Material from earlier periods of Bruce’s career may not be as easily available.

With these considerations in mind, here’s hoping these are among the thirty shows under consideration, and among the first shows released:

The Top 10 Shows that Bruce Springsteen Should Release From His Archives:

vets-81-2140331. August 20, 1981 – Los Angeles, California
The benefit concert for the Vietnam Veterans of America is well known as one of the most important and emotional performances in Springsteen’s entire career. It has been widely bootlegged, but none of the available recordings approach the high quality of other famous shows. An easy choice for #1.

2. November 16, 1990 – Los Angeles, California
The benefit for the Christic Institute featured Springsteen playing solo: not only on guitar, but – for the first time in many years – on piano as well. It was Bruce’s first public performance since dismissing the E Street Band and was the debut of four new songs, including “Real World.” This show, along with the following night’s performance, were reportedly considered as candidates for an official release in the 1990s.

3. September 24, 1999 – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
For the fifth night of a six-show run during the Reunion tour, Bruce and the band moved across the street from the new arena to the old Spectrum, performing the night after Bruce’s fiftieth birthday. One of the best shows of that tour, but unfortunately no excellent recordings of the show have ever been available… yet.

4. August 23, 2008 – St. Louis, Missouri
Probably the best show by the E Street Band since they reunited in 1999. Memorable for the resurrection of numerous classic cover songs, including “Then She Kissed Me” and “Mountain of Love” as well as the band playing at peak power at the end of the Magic tour: the versions of “Gypsy Biker” and “Long Walk Home” from this show are definitive.

190978-passaic-ticket-a2c5. September 19, 1978 – Passaic, New Jersey
The “Piece de Resistance” show, and famously broadcast on WNEW-FM. It could be said that this show does not need an official release, given that it already exists in excellent quality in collectors’ circles. It remains one of the more significant shows in Bruce’s career, with the radio broadcast bringing many a fan’s first exposure to the E Street Band.  The LP, cassette and CD bootlegs of this show have been treasured by so many fans for so many years that it seems unfathomable that this show will not be included.

bitusatour6. August 20, 1984 – East Rutherford, New Jersey
Well known under the bootleg title “The Last Great Show,” this was the final night of a ten-night homecoming stand at the Meadowlands Arena on the first leg of the Born in the U.S.A. tour. The Miami Horns and Little Steven were special guests, including on a memorable version of “Drift Away.” This show was one of the sources of the Live 1975-1985 box set and should be easily available for release.

7. March 25, 1977 – Boston, Massachusetts
The final night of a legendary four-show run to end a series of shows in which Springsteen was playing live because he could not record in the studio due to his legal battles with Mike Appel. Featuring a powerful “Backstreets” and “Higher and Higher” to end the show.

Springsteen On The Street8. October 18, 1975 – Los Angeles, California
The fourth of a six-night residency at the Roxy Theater in West Hollywood. This show is the source of the now-famous version of “Thunder Road” that starts the Live 1975-1985 box set. Given the likelihood that the entire show exists in Bruce’s archives, this is a probable (and worthy) choice for inclusion in the series.

9. May 3, 1988 – Mountain View, California
Available for years under the famous bootleg title “Roses and Broken Hearts,” and widely considered the best show of the Tunnel of Love tour. A wild encore includes “Sweet Soul Music,” “Have Love Will Travel,” and for the first time in ten years, “Little Latin Lupe Lu.”

10. January 31, 1973 – New York, New York
Shortly after the release of Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ, Mike Appel made arrangements for this show to be recorded for King Biscuit Flower Hour radio program. Given the uncertainty of availability of early recordings of the band, this seems a likely choice as the earliest recording in the archive series.

Other strong contenders:

ad113May 9, 1974, Cambridge, Massachussets
The show at the Harvard Square Theater reviewed by Jon Landau, resulting in a now legendary quote. The band was touring behind The Wild, The Innocent… and included David Sancious and Boom Carter in their lineup.

May 8, 1981 – Stockholm, Sweden
Arguably the best show of the 1981 European tour, Bruce’s first extended visit overseas.

October 31, 1984 – Los Angeles, California
Halloween night includes a special “High School Confidential” opening skit and a rare performance of “My Father’s House.”

June 24, 1993 – East Rutherford, New Jersey
The “Concert to Fight Hunger,” at the end of the 1992-1993 World Tour; with guest appearances from Little Steven, Max Weinberg, Southside Johnny, and a roof-raising moment when Clarence Clemons comes out during “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out.”

May 8, 2000 – Hartford, Connecticut

One of the consensus best shows of the Reunion tour, including Bruce dropping a part of “Honky Tonk Women” into the start of “Darlington County.”

June 28, 2003 – Milan, Italy
The final night of the European leg of the Rising tour, including a wild crowd, a thunderstorm and a rare performance of “Follow that Dream.” Specifically cited by Jon Landau at the time as one of Bruce’s best-ever shows.

October 4, 2003 – New York, NY
The final night of the Rising tour includes a rarity-filled setlist and a guest appearance from Bob Dylan.

Novefederici_boston2008mber 19, 2007 – Boston, Massachusetts
Danny Federici’s last complete show with the E Street Band. (Alternate choice: April 22, 2008 in Tampa, Florida, the first show after his death).

November 8, 2009 – New York, New York
A complete performance of The River album, for the first and quite possibly only time. A stunning show, even beyond the album portion of the proceedings.

BTR pose by Ermanno Labianca

Photo: Ermanno Labianca.

November 22, 2009 – Buffalo, New York
The final night of the Working on a Dream tour; a complete performance of Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ and Clarence Clemons’ final tour show with the band.

July 31, 2012 – Helsinki, Finland
At four hours, four minutes and forty-seven seconds, the longest Springsteen show ever performed.

* This article was originally published in the excellent blog Stay Hard, Stay Hungry, Stay Alive.
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The legendary 1980 New Year’s show: new archive release

A legendary show from The River tour, held in New York on Dec. 31st 1980, is the 4th release in the Archive Series.

Springsteen played a 3-night stand to close the first leg of The River tour in 1980. The final night featured an impressive 38-song set that lasted three hours and 45 minutes, holding for decades the record of being the longest show ever, though the longest show actually happened two weeks earlier -Dec.19th- at Madison Square Garden (check out the excellent article by Glenn Radecki in his blog Stay Hard, Stay Hungry, Stay Alive: “Nassau Coliseum 1980: Revisiting the Show’s Length and All-Time Ranking”). The record has been surpassed in recent years (twice already) at shows in Melbourne and Helsinki.

This legendary New Year’s Eve show at Nassau Coliseum has been circulating for years amongst collectors in the form of a soundboard tape, though never in the quality of this official release. Toby Scott has mixed the recording from the original 24-track master tapes, giving it a well needed sonic improvement.

The concert opens with a blasting “Night”, followed by “Prove it All Night” and “Spirit in the Night”, and features lots of River songs, including the not-often played “The Price You Pay”, “Fade Away” and “Wreck on the Highway”, along with many rarities: the only version of “Held Up Without A Gun” until its reappearance on the Wrecking Ball tour, “Rendezvous” (previously released on the Tracks box set), the appropriate “In the Midnight Hour” and Xmas standards “Merry Christmas Baby”, “Auld Lang Syne” and “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”.

Now available for download at the official store


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Record Store Day: unboxing the vinyl

This year’s Record Store Day won’t feature an exclusive recording on vinyl. Instead, Bruce Springsteen will release individually all the remastered vinyl versions of his first seven albums, originally published last year in the boxset The Album Collection Vol. 1 1973-1984.

The individual albums will be available Saturday, April 18, 2015, at a lower price (compared to buying the whole boxset): $24.98 per album (except the double album The River, at $39.98).

The seven albums are:

  • Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. (1973)
  • The Wild, The Innocent and The E Street Shuffle (1973)
  • Born To Run (1975)
  • Darkness On The Edge Of Town (1978)
  • The River (1980)
  • Nebraska (1982)
  • Born In The U.S.A. (1984)


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