Gratis Springsteen Single Surfaces on iTunes

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The Boss sprung a free download Monday on iTunes, part of a buildup towards a January album release.

The track, “Working on a Dream,” was also available on, though the gratis giveaway ended Monday evening at midnight.  Outside of an optional email address request, the download was offered as a no-strings-attached proposition on the artist page, and the file was a similarly no-strings-attached MP3.

On the iTunes Store, the story shifted a bit.  Instead of an MP3, fans were given a protected file, an inconvenience for those wanting to step outside the iPod+iPhone+iTunes ecosystem.  Whether Apple will eventually negotiate DRM-free licenses remains a hot topic of speculation, but for now, protection is the word.  The song will be available on iTunes exclusively until December 9th.

The song gained some considerable exposure during a recent, Sunday Night Football game on ESPN.  The album carries the same name as the lead single, and hits retailers January 27th.