Every streaming service needs catnip to lure subscribers, and locking down the exclusive rights to superstars’ catalogues is a textbook power play in the streaming wars. For some services (TIDAL’s hold on Neil Young and Prince, for example) it’s the only real perk they offer. Last week, Amazon announced that they would be playing the odds with their own streaming service, though it was hard to see what, in particular, Amazon Music Unlimited would have to recommend it over any one, outside of a discount for Prime users. Today we have the loud-and-clear answer: the rights to the catalogue of Garth Brooks.
At the moment, it’s not a perfect solution for Brooks heads, but it may satisfy the sick-I-used-to-listen-to-this-on-the-way-to-middle-school-with-my-Dad demographic. The only collections available now are the expanded 25th anniversary edition of his 20+-times-platinum live album Double Live, and a 2-hour great hits compendium.
Formerly, fans had to go to Brooks’s own hilarious two-years-young online streaming service GhostTunes—which, by the skin of its iron teeth, continues to exist—to snag Brooks releases digitally. But in an interview today with Billboard, the C&W superstar, traditionally a contrarian when it comes to digital distribution, hinted that GhostTunes might be drawing its last breaths. After they distribute his new single “Baby, Let’s Lay Down and Dance,” and fulfill their obligations to Frito’s (!!!) for a truly outrageous promotional campaign, Brooks’ music will become solely Amazon’s property online.
Never fear, more albums are coming soon, and most importantly, new music. First will be… well, his upcoming Christmas album with fellow country icon and spouse Trisha Yearwood (his first holiday release since 2001’s Songs from Call Me Claus). His new solo album, Gunslinger, is due just around Thanksgiving. This is going to be a gradual rollout, so Brooks devotees might consider setting that artist page as their homepage to check on developments—i.e. when Ropin’ the Wind drops and crashes the Amazon homepage. For now, you can stream “Friends in Low Places” to your heart’s content.