Country fans streaming music may wonder – why isn’t Garth Brooks on Spotify? Here’s why.
Some artists stay off certain streaming services to promote others. A famous example of this is Jay-Z withholding his catalog for Tidal (until 2019). The answer is similar for Garth Brooks. The country megastar eschewed the streaming business altogether until 2016, when he signed an exclusive deal with Amazon Music.
In fact, Garth reveals that Spotify CEO Daniel Ek personally spoke with him about getting his catalog on the service.
“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 the SXSW Festival in 2017. “His parents were both street musicians – he’s a good guy who understands music, and I think he wants to help and believes 100% he’s helping.”
But Brooks says he believes his vision for how people enjoy his music more closely aligns with Amazon Music. That’s because the artist says he values radio play, which helped him in his early career. Brooks says he worries that the ability to skip songs on demand would take away from the listening experience of an entire album.
Amazon Music is catering hard to the country music crowd – which has been the slowest to adopt music streaming.
October is Country Music Month for Amazon Music. The streaming service celebrates new country songs, and its Country Heat radio station, which debuted in 2016 (a year before Garth Brooks signed on). Brooks was a big land for Amazon; he’s sold more albums in the U.S. than anyone except the Beatles.
Garth Brooks is also in the unique position of owning the rights to almost all of his back catalog. Man Against Machine, a 2014 album he put out with Sony Music’s RCA label is the only one not under his rights umbrella.
So why isn’t Garth Brooks on Spotify? That level of control over his back catalog allowed Brooks to keep his music off of music streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music.
“Apple’s a little different story,” Brooks shared at that same 2017 SXSW Festival appearance. “They came in with their own set of rules, and if you’re already established, you have to change to get to them. I’m never going to change to fit their rules.”
“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. Then out of the blue, thank God, Amazon shows up and wants to get into the streaming business – the views they shared seemed to correlate with the views we shared.”