Garth Brooks stayed away from all streaming sites for years until 2016. At his level of success in the country music world, he is able to have creative control over where his music gets featured. It's not Spotify or Apple Music's fault that Garth Brooks is not featured in their catalog! This is a choice that was up to Garth himself. While he disagrees with being featured there, he still has kind things to say about the people that run the companies.
"Spotify came in, Daniel Ek came down to sit with me, sweet man, I love Daniel, great guy. I think he gets a lot of crap," Garth said at SXSW in 2017. Garth just thinks that his ideas don't align with what Spotify can offer him. When asked about the people at Apple Music, he said, "Nice guys, we have respect for each other; we're just never going to work together. So we were kind of dead in the water."
Before 2016, Garth had exclusively licensed his recordings for distribution in North America through Walmart's CD manufacturer, Sony. In October of 2016, Garth Brooks' years of resisting streaming services ended when he reached a deal with Amazon Music. At first, only select songs were available for streaming. But after further negotiation, all 16 of his albums were available for fans to stream at any time.
Garth is great at being cordial, especially in front of his millions of fans, but what was it about sites like Spotify and Apple Music that he disagreed with? For one, Garth Brooks wants his fans to be able to consume his music in a certain way. He thinks that Spotify and Apple Music playlists take away from the listening experience for those who hear his work out of order or mixed in with other artists.
Rumor has it that the pay was also a huge part of what won Garth over for having his music exclusively available for streaming through Amazon. While most artists don't get the luxury to work out offers, Garth also got his tour backed by Amazon, and his wife a deal with Amazon with her cookbooks. See what being a legend can do for you?
Some will say that Garth Brooks and his team are making a bad choice to stay old school and have music consumed the way they want instead of the way that the fans would want. While I think they have a point, I feel like an artist has the right to do whatever they want to do with their art! Garth Brooks is probably not hurting for the extra change that could come along with Spotify and Apple Music royalties.
If streaming sites come to Garth Brooks with a super enticing offer, he may decide to come to an agreement with them in the future. Otherwise, it is unlikely that anything will change soon, and you may just have to get Amazon Music to listen to his work if you're a dedicated fan.
Garth still has all his music available for physical purchase through Walmart if you find yourself interested in buying a CD of his. Yes, CDs are really getting out of style these days, but some people don't mind using them. You could take it way back to the olden days and get his vinyl collection if you're a big music connoisseur with access to a record player.
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