As you can tell from some of my past link posts, I'm a huge Springsteen fan. I've seen him over 35 times since 1985, own every one of his releases except for the Seeger Sessions (like Barry Bonds' HR "record" I like to make believe it never occurred), have plenty of signed pictures in my office, and boxes and boxes of bootleg CDs traded over the internet. Plus, I made sure my son saw him on The Rising Tour even though he was 3 and I plan on taking the whole family to one of the shows.
Springsteen just announced a new studio release slated for October 2nd and it also is an E Street Band CD which is the first one since The Rising. That is huge news, but besides his dwindling fan base (more on that in a second) does anyone else think it is huge news? The two major fan sites Backstreets and Greasylake saw huge spikes in traffic with the news, but that is probably fans that have only just started to return from Bruce's E Street Band hiatus (I've been missing since Seeger). You see, Bruce followed The Rising with Devils and Dust which was mostly an acoustic CD and then toured solo. He then returned with the folk CD of non-Springsteen covers called the The Seeger Sessions and then toured with a non-E Street Band. So, it has been a while in between Bruce's rock sound.
So on Friday I looked around the internet to see what buzz I could find and for a while I was excited. In the middle of the day searches for Bruce Springsteen Magic peaked to 91 according to Google trends, but by the end of the day, Bruce faded away and was no longer in the top 100 searches. Who ended up ahead of Bruce for the day? How about?
- John Blewett
- Zach Efron
- Wily Mo Pena (that's pathetic)
Then while experimenting in Facebook I clicked on one of those polls that runs in the margin and decided to construct my own. So for fun I constructed one on Springsteen to see if Facebook users were excited about the new CD. Even though it cost me $50, I wanted to test out the Facebook survey service. Here are the results:
- 8% of users will buy the CD and about 7% might download a song
- 20% don't know who Bruce is
- and 66% said they were not excited about the new release
I don't know if those numbers are good or bad because I've never run a music survey before, but what surprised me the most were the 20% of users who didn't know who Bruce is. The people that didn't know were more likely to be younger (13-24 years old), but if you looked at the # of people that are excited they are also more likely to be younger (the chart adds to 100% by age group not by answer) followed by the oldest group of responders. Clearly there is an opportunity to capture both sets of age groups on the internet.
Clearly with a great sounding CD Bruce can grab tons of fans that can be introduced to him for the first time. And, if the CD works its Magic Bruce can bring a lot of old fans back into the fold. I'd love to see what his marketing plan looks like and whether he will use some of the tactics he used the last time for The Seeger Sessions which included music downloads, concert footage, as well as email blasts.
If I had to guess, Bruce goes out like he has done in the past and tours behind the release, hoping that the greatest live performer in Rock History lifts sales. However sometime in 2008, Bruce can't resist another Presidential Election and jumps in to support the Democrat Nominee which really introduces him to a new, younger audience that doesn't know who the Boss is; that's the boost to his CD sales.