Why Is Garth Brooks Not on Spotify or Apple Music? Explained

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  • Garth Brooks’s digital music absence and the reasons behind it
  • The history behind Brooks’s decision to remove his music from streaming services
  • The impact of Brooks’s absence in the music industry and from fan events 

Garth Brooks is among the most successful country music artists ever, with over 150 million records sold worldwide. Despite his massive popularity, Brooks has decided not to make his music available on popular streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music. Fans of the artist have been left wondering why this is the case and what it means for the future of music distribution.

One possible explanation for Brooks’s absence from streaming services is his longstanding commitment to physical media. The artist has been a vocal advocate for the importance of CDs and vinyl records and has even released several albums exclusively in these formats. 

In a 2019 interview, Brooks stated that he believes physical media is “the only way to make music personal again” and that he has no plans to change his approach anytime soon.

Another factor that may be contributing to Brooks’s absence from streaming services is his desire for greater control over his music. Unlike physical media, which consumers can purchase and own outright, streaming services allow listeners to access music without owning it. 

This lack of ownership can be problematic for artists who want to retain control over their work and may be a key reason why Brooks has chosen to keep his music off popular streaming platforms.

Garth Brooks’s Music Distribution

In 2014, Garth Brooks removed his music from all streaming services, including Spotify and Apple Music. He stated that he wanted his fans to experience his music as a whole album rather than just individual songs. He also expressed concern that streaming services did not adequately compensate artists for their work.

Since then, Brooks has made some of his music available for streaming on Amazon Music, which he sees as a better option for artists. However, his music is still unavailable on the two most popular streaming services.

Music Distribution Companies

Garth Brooks’s music distribution is handled by his record label, Pearl Records, which he founded in 2005. Sony Music Nashville, part of the larger Sony Music Entertainment, distributes Pearl Records. Sony Music Nashville is responsible for the physical distribution of Brooks’s albums and works with retailers to ensure they are available to consumers.

In addition to physical distribution, Sony Music Nashville also handles the digital distribution of Brooks’s music. This includes making his music available for purchase on digital platforms, like iTunes and Amazon, and licensing his music for use in films, television shows, and commercials.

Streaming Platforms and Their Policies

Spotify Policies

Spotify is one of the largest music streaming platforms in the world, with over 356 million active users as of 2021. However, Garth Brooks’s music is unavailable on the platform despite its vast music library. Garth Brooks has been an outspoken critic of Spotify, citing the platform’s low royalty rates as the reason for his absence.

Spotify pays artists based on the number of streams they receive, ranging from $0.003 to $0.005 per stream. While this may seem small, Spotify argues that it pays out a significant portion of its revenue to artists, with over $5 billion paid out to musicians in 2020 alone.

Despite this, Garth Brooks has refused to make his music available on the platform, instead opting to release his music exclusively through his digital platform, GhostTunes.

Apple Music Policies

Apple Music is another popular music streaming platform, with over 60 million subscribers as of 2019. Like Spotify, Apple Music pays artists based on the number of streams they receive, with rates ranging from $0.006 to $0.0084 per stream.

Despite these seemingly higher rates, Garth Brooks has also chosen to keep his music private from Apple Music. In an interview with Billboard, Brooks stated that he was uncomfortable with selling his music on a per-song basis, as he felt it devalued the album as an art form.

Instead, Brooks has chosen to release his music exclusively through his digital platform, GhostTunes, which allows fans to purchase entire albums and individual tracks.

Possible Reasons for Garth Brooks’s Absence

Royalty Rates

One possible reason for Garth Brooks’s absence from Spotify and Apple Music is royalty rates. According to reports, Brooks has been vocal about his concerns over streaming services’ low royalty rates paid to artists. In an interview with Billboard in 2014, Brooks stated that he believed streaming services were “killing the music industry.”

Brooks may have chosen not to make his music available on these platforms to protest against what he sees as unfair compensation for artists. However, it’s worth noting that other artists who have expressed similar concerns have still made their music available on streaming services.

Exclusive Deals

Another possible reason for Garth Brooks’s absence from streaming services is exclusive deals. Many artists have signed exclusive deals with streaming platforms in recent years, making their music available only on one service. For example, Taylor Swift signed an exclusive deal with Apple Music in 2015, making her music available only on that platform.

Brooks may have chosen to refrain from signing an exclusive deal with any streaming service, which would make his music unavailable on all platforms. Alternatively, he may have signed a deal with a different platform that has exclusive rights to his music.

Personal Beliefs

Finally, Garth Brooks’s absence from streaming services may be simply a matter of personal beliefs. Brooks has been known to protect his music and has expressed concerns about piracy. He may not want his music to be available on streaming services for personal reasons.

Alternatively, Brooks may have concerns about the impact of streaming on the music industry. He has spoken out about the importance of album sales and physical media and may believe that streaming services harm the industry.

Impact on Garth Brooks’s Career

Sales and Revenue

Garth Brooks’s decision to withhold his music from streaming platforms has significantly impacted his sales and revenue. With the ability to stream his music, fans can purchase physical copies or digital downloads of his albums. While this may seem like a disadvantage in the age of streaming, Brooks has still managed to sell millions of albums and maintain his status as one of the best-selling artists of all time.

According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), Brooks has sold over 157 million albums in the United States alone. His most recent album, Fun, debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart in November 2020, selling 70,000 copies in its first week. While these numbers may not be as high as when his music were available on streaming platforms, they are still impressive and demonstrate the enduring popularity of Brooks’s music.

Fan Base

Garth Brooks’s decision to withhold music from streaming platforms has also impacted his fan base. While younger listeners may be more likely to stream music, Brooks’s core fan base consists of older listeners who grew up listening to his music on the radio or physical copies of his albums. These fans are willing to purchase his music in whatever format it is available in, and many appreciate the nostalgia of owning a physical copy of their favorite album.

Brooks has also maintained his fan base through his live performances. He is known for his high-energy concerts and has sold out arenas and stadiums worldwide. In 2019, he played a sold-out show at Notre Dame Stadium, attended by over 84,000 fans. His ability to connect with his fans through his live shows has helped him maintain his status as one of the most popular live performers in the world.

Legacy

Garth Brooks’s decision to withhold music from streaming platforms has also impacted his legacy. While some may argue that he is missing out on potential new fans by not making his music available on streaming platforms, others argue that his decision has helped to preserve the value of his music and his legacy as an artist.

Brooks has always been known for his innovative approach to marketing and promoting his music. By withholding his music from streaming platforms, he has created a sense of scarcity around his music, which has helped drive demand for physical copies of his albums. This approach has helped to cement his legacy as an artist who values the quality and integrity of his music over the potential for short-term gains.

Wrapping up

Garth Brooks’s absence from Spotify and Apple Music has been a topic of discussion for years. While many fans have been disappointed by this, it is clear that Brooks has made a conscious decision to keep his music off these streaming platforms.

Brooks has always strongly advocated for album sales and physical copies of music. He believes that the experience of buying an album and holding it in your hands is an important part of the music-listening experience.

Additionally, Brooks has been vocal about his concerns with the current streaming model and its impact on artists and their royalties. He has stated that he wants to ensure that his music is being compensated fairly and that he has control over how it is distributed.

While it is unclear if Brooks will ever change his stance on streaming, it is clear that he remains one of the most successful and influential country artists of all time. His music continues to resonate with fans, and his live shows are some of the most highly anticipated events in the music industry.

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