Garth Brooks ropes exclusive deal with Wal-Mart
Fri Aug 19, 2005 4:45 AM ET
LOS ANGELES (Billboard) - Retired country star Garth Brooks has signed a multi-year, exclusive pact with Wal-Mart, making the world's biggest retailer and its Sam's Clubs and Walmart.com outlets the only places where his music will be commercially available.
The deal with Brooks marks the first time an artist -- and certainly a superstar -- has aligned himself and his entire catalog with one chain. (A number of other retailers have started labels, but they were never exclusive to the retailer and most have shut down).
Speculation about a pact brewing between Brooks and Wal-Mart grew after the artist performed at a shareholders meeting June 3 in Bentonville, Ark., Wal-Mart's hometown. However, until now, both sides have declined to acknowledge that they had made a deal.
Brooks told Billboard that he's not ready to discuss details of the Wal-Mart deal until "we get our ducks a row," but added that the forthcoming releases, "in everything from cost to content, will be an amazing deal for the Garth fan."
The initial deal is believed to cover only catalog since Brooks had vowed to remain retired from performing and recording new material until his youngest daughter graduates from high school in 2015, by which stage he will be 53.
Then, he has said he'll reevaluate the marketplace and his desire to return to the music recording industry. Brooks' last studio album, 2001's "Scarecrow," has sold 2.9 million copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
Brooks' departure from Capitol Nashville, his label home since 1989, paved the way for the Wal-Mart deal. Capitol and Brooks dissolved their licensing deal in June. Brooks owns his masters, leaving him free to shop for a new deal. His catalog includes 15 projects. Capitol parent EMI can sell remaining Brooks' titles it already had in the pipeline to retailers prior to the June deal, but it can manufacture no more units.
Although neither Brooks nor Wal-Mart would comment on the first arrival under the pact, industry sources say that it will be a multiple-disc box set including previously unreleased material. The set will hit shelves in late fall and will retail at around $25.
Such a project, because it is not available to all retailers, would not be eligible for the Billboard 200 album chart, but would appear on the Billboard Comprehensive Albums chart, which appears on http://www.Billboard.com.
Well myself being a HUGE Garth fan...I don't care where he sells his music as long as I can get my grubby little paws on it...I wish he'd come out of retirement tho....... He is sorely missed.........