In conjunction with Nugs.net Bruce Hornsby has created a new website, brucehornsbylive.com which is offering recordings of concerts from Hornsby throughout his storied career. The shows will be available in both MP3 and FLAC formats and can be downloaded either as individual tracks or complete shows. Each download also comes with cover art in PDF format that one could easily print off. Though the site requests you not to share the downloads with anybody else, there is no included DRM which allows you to move the music onto any device you like as ofen as you like, which is a great thing.
Currently the website is only offering 13 complete concerts and three compilations sets called "Dagle's Choice," but the website promises to be updating regularly. Individual tracks sell for $0.99 while full concerts go for $9.95 for the MP3 version and $12.95 for the lossless FLAC format. This may be a sale price as their FAQ lists prices at $12.95 and $15.95 respectively.
While Bruce Hornsby is most widely known for his string of hits in the '80s including "The Way It Is" and "Mandolin Rain" - songs that are more likely to be played in a bank lobby than to be treasured by music lovers - his career has actually been much more varied and impressive. He is a virtuoso at the piano and accordian. Immersed in a variety of musical genres including jazz, bluegrass, as well as rock, Hornsby has had an incredibe career as a songwriter and performer. He has played with a diverse group of musicians such as Ricky Skaggs, Bonnie Raitt, and the Grateful Dead. Live, he just as easily plays new versions of his old hits as he does an old Bill Monroe or Bill Evans number.
His concerts have been traded in bootlegging circles for years (and the FAQ is quick to note that his trading policy is remaining the same as it ever was) but its great to see his shows being released officially. The MP3s are being released at 192 kps which is not as good as I'd like it to be, but will generally sound fine on a standard stereo. The pricing is reasonable and certainly comporable to what you'll find on iTunes or Amazon but is a little more than I'm likely to pay.
They are currently offering a couple of free shows to sample their goods and I downloaded one to try the process out. My download went smoothly and I was able to get the entire show in a manner of minutes. The tracks were easily imported into iTunes and the MP3s are precisely labeled and include the artwork. The sound is excellent as well.
Its great to see artists like Bruce Hornsby putting high quality recordings of their concerts out at a reasonable price. It is refreshing to see music being brought to the fans in a digital format that doesn't include oppressive DRM schemes. This type of thing isn't likely to save the music industry, but its a great way for an artist to both make money and serve their fans.