Country superstar Garth Brooks no longer a digital holdout, except for iTunes

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The immensely popular singer is to release a new album after 13 years. For the first time, his catalog will be available digitally, but only on his website.

Standing by his prinicples.Garth screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

There’s a certain purity about country music.

It depicts a world in which there is love, heartbreak, trucks, cowboys, trains, guns, family, and dreams. Oh, and the open road.

Life ought to be that simple, but cruder forms of music and technology have muddied its crystal waters.

Indeed, another of the great principles of life has been compromised. Garth Brooks, the country singer whose success is legendary, is returning in November with a new album.

“Album” is a term Brooks doesn’t use lightly. He has always refused to have his music catalog dumped online, as he doesn’t want the tasteless and unwashed cherry-picking of individual songs. An opus shouldn’t be put in the hands of the hopeless.

This time around, however, he is succumbing to the reality that everyone’s phone is full of tunes. As my religious reading of Taste of Country tells me, Brooks is to send his new album out into the digital ether.

However, he will not sully his hands with either streaming services or Apple’s heinous iTunes. No, he will release the new music on his own Web site. To prepare for this, the site will have an official relaunch on July 15.

One can only hope that it will cope with the sudden influx of the insanely frustrated, who will not only be able to download Brooks’s new material but also the whole of his catalog.

Perhaps it seems archaic that Brooks, like AC/DC, refused for so long to let his music get iTuned. He believed he was fighting for the songwriters, the good people.

Now even he has succumbed. No, he won’t allow Apple to become his friend in a low place.

However, in an interview — on his own site, naturally — Brooks claims he’s introducing a new version of social media. “It’s not for the world,” he explained. Instead, it’s “for you and me.”

You see, Brooks understands the new personalization.

At heart, he’s a businessman, one of the only ones to stand up to Steve Jobs and say: “Ain’t Going Down.”

To which Jobs may have muttered: “You’re no Dylan.”


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