Garth Brooks is going independent. The country star announced his departure from former label RCA Records and plans to release two albums independently this year.
That’s exciting news for Garth Brooks fans, who waited thirteen years for new music last time. Brooks says he and wife Trisha Yearwood have a Christmas duets album on the way as well as a follow-up solo album.
Those aren’t the only big changes in store. Brooks also hinted that his music may come to at least one streaming service soon. Brooks said the outlet is” neither of the two partners you think it’s going to be, but it’s one of the biggest partners in the world.”
Previously, Brooks’ own service GhostTunes had exclusive rights to digital distribution of his music. He remained one of the last holdouts from any major digital service, such as iTunes.
Brooks only recorded one album with RCA Records, 2014’s Man Against Machine. The comeback album fell shy of expectations, and RCA Records’ parent company Sony Nashville underwent a lot of internal changes.
The star will release the upcoming albums on his own Pearl Records, which he founded in 2005. Brooks released several compilation albums on Pearl, along with Man Against Machine in a joint partnership with RCA.
“I’ve always enjoyed being part of a team,” Brooks said. “I think you can always be part of something bigger with a team than you can be by yourself. Would I love to be part of a label group? Sure I would. But with the new streaming income now, I can’t make them money.”
Of course, Brooks still operates one of the most profitable tours in all of music. He brought in nearly $115 million in gross tour revenue in 2015 alone. Most label deals now operate on taking a portion of that money, but Brooks does just fine without their help.
Garth emphasized a focus on radio for the new album, however. “Radio might not want to be the place where you discover things, but they still are,” Brooks said. “Artists and radio will always be brothers in the discovery process of bringing new music to people. Between country radio and the artist, it’s our job to bring music to people that changes people’s lives — good, bad, makes them cry. It’s what we do.”
Brooks expects to release both new albums in the fall.