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Why Isn’t Garth Brooks on Spotify?

Why Isn’t Garth Brooks on Spotify?

Garth Brooks is one of the best country musicians in the world, yet he isn’t on Spotify. He’s a household name in America and by far one of the most well-known artists in the world. 

So why wouldn’t one of the top-selling singers of all time want to be on the world’s largest music platform? 

Together we’ll learn more about the powerhouse that is Garth Brooks and how he wants his listeners to hear his music.

Let’s roll!

A black and white illustration of Garth Brooks with a 'no' line over a Spotify symbol.

The Story of Garth Brooks

Garth Brooks is a prolific country music artist. He’s the second best-selling artist of all time and the only musician in the world to have nine album releases hit diamond status. That’s only awarded when one of your singles or albums sells more than 10,000,000 units! 

Brooks was born in 1962 in Oklahoma. His mother was a country singer, and his father was a draftsman for an oil company. His parents, both music-loving individuals, taught Brooks and his five other siblings how to play instruments and sing. The children would perform at the family’s weekly talent night in Yukon, Oklahoma.

He began his professional music career in 1985 after graduating with a degree in advertising from Oklahoma State University. Two years later, Brooks and his wife, Sandy Mahl, moved to Nashville to pursue his country music career. 

Garth released his first album, which was self-titled, in 1989. It peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Top Country Albums charts. His second album, No Fences, spent 23 weeks at No. 1 on the same charts and No. 3 on the Billboard200 chart. 

From that album, four songs went on to reach No. 1 on the Hot Country Songs chart. In late 1990, the Grand Ole Opry inducted Brooks, and he quickly became a household name in America. His career took off from there.

What Is Spotify?

Spotify is a Swedish-invented digital music streaming service created in 2006 and introduced to the United States in 2011. With Spotify, you can access millions of songs, podcasts, and other digital content made available from creators around the world. 

The platform learns what you like over time and generates playlists and suggestions based on your tastes and previously listened-to content.

You can choose to use Spotify totally free, with a few drawbacks, of course. Or you can pay monthly to use its services without advertisements. You can access the free Hulu ad-supported service with the premium services or paid monthly account. This includes other in-app perks, such as unlimited skipping, better audio quality, and downloading songs for offline listening.

Halfway through 2022, the streaming company reported 433 million total users and 188 million paying subscribers. There are approximately eight million creators on Spotify. In April 2022, Music Business World said that nearly 80% of artists on Spotify have less than 50 monthly listeners and that 67% of artists hadn’t released more than ten tracks.

How Does Garth Brooks Feel About Spotify?

Garth Brooks says he’ll never work with Spotify. He explains that Spotify users can freely skip whatever song they want or choose which songs from an album to listen to and in what order. 

Brooks values radio play and worries that the ability to skip songs as the listener wants would devalue the listening experience of an entire album. He wants his listeners to experience the album in a certain way, from beginning to end, without skips.

Although unwilling to use their services, Brooks said Daniel Ek, the owner of Spotify, is a great and sweet man. Ek’s parents were street musicians, which was part of the reason he created Spotify. 

Brooks isn’t the only artist who refuses to partner with Spotify. Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, and Jay-Z are artists you also won’t find on the world’s largest streaming platform. 

Did Garth Brooks Start His Own Streaming Service?

As one of the top-selling musicians of all time, why wait for a service to meet your needs? Why not just create your own? That’s what Brooks thought in 2014. Before the first show of his comeback tour in 2014, Brooks announced that he was launching a digital platform for his music called GhostTunes.

GhostTunes was a unique platform that allowed the artist to select how they sell their songs or albums, which were the terms Brooks wanted all along. More than digital offerings, the platform offered physical goods such as CDs, t-shirts, and other merchandise. 

GhostTunes was a “for the artists, by the artists” digital platform and completely different from Amazon, iTunes, Spotify, and other streaming services. Garth Brooks referred to it as his gift to music.

In late 2016, just two years after its inception, GhostTunes announced it would shut down and merge with Amazon Music. GhostTunes’ CEO Randy Bernard said they couldn’t keep up with the billion-dollar companies.

Why Did Garth Brooks Agree to a Deal With Amazon?

Amazon offered Brooks the complete package: streaming, album downloads, and physical CDs, something the other companies couldn’t do.

The company provides approximately 90 million songs, slightly more than Spotify. It also lets consumers buy directly from the artists instead of streaming their music for pennies on the dollar.

Even with the deal through Amazon, Brooks disclosed concerns about people skipping songs through Alexa and the listener not receiving the full experience. He consistently maintains that he wants his albums to be listened to in order and in full versus interpreted as individual songs.

A Win For Musicians’ Rights

Garth Brooks believes not being on Spotify is in the best interest for his career. As a top-selling musician, Brooks has fought for his music rights for decades. Garth Brooks choosing not to be on Spotify and instead be on Amazon is considered a win.

What do you think about Spotify and Amazon’s music streaming services? Let us know your preferred app in the comments below!

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