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Garth Brooks at Croke Park in November 2021 Sam Boal
streaming giants

Garth Brooks: Why fans might find it hard to stream his music before Croke Park gigs

Brooks signed an exclusive contract with Amazon in 2016.

AS TENS OF thousands of people prepare for Garth Brooks’ return to Croke Park this weekend, it may be a struggle for some to stream his music ahead of his first gig this Friday.

The country star is set to return to Ireland for his first gig in the country since 1997, following the 2014 fiasco which lead to five gigs in Croke Park being cancelled.

He’s set to return to Dublin for five gigs starting this Friday, with the remaining four gigs on September 10, 11, 16 and 17.

With fans of Brooks’ preparing for gigs over the next week, they may be wondering why it is so difficult to stream his music online through typical streaming services, like Spotify and Apple Music.

Currently, fans are only able to listen to Brooks on Amazon Music, after he signed an exclusive deal with the retail giant in 2016.

He had previously been a significant holdout on both streaming services and online music stores like iTunes, saying that he wanted to sell albums rather than individual tracks.

He started his own streaming and online music store, GhostTunes, in 2014 which featured his entire discography and allowed record labels to decide how they sold their music, with a particular focus on fair royalty payments for artists.

Following the exclusivity deal, GhostTunes was absorbed into Amazon.

In a statement following the exclusivity deal, Brooks said: “It is a joy to work with a company that is all about the customer when it comes to service, and all about the music and its creators when it comes to the music.”

In a previous interview with music journal Billboard, Brooks also said that Amazon had been “very sweet” in providing him with flexibility on how he wanted to enter streaming.

“They said, ‘It’s your music, you tell us how you want it sold,’” Brooks said, speaking about the deal.

Before the deal with Amazon was solidified, Brooks said that he had spoken to both Spotify and Apple, however he ruled both out.

Apple was ruled out as any deal would have placed his music on iTunes, while Spotify had no way to sell his discography.

Prior to streaming, in 2005 Brooks signed an exclusivity deal with American retail giant Walmart, meaning that physical copies of his music were only available within that retailer.

Additional reporting by AFP

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