We recently reported that rumors had spread about Garth Brooks teaming up with George Strait, Jason Aldean, Florida Georgia Line and Keith Urban for a remake of his hit, “Friends in Low Places.” Unfortunately, it seems as though the song has been shelved due to a dispute over royalty distribution.
According to Billboard, the new version of Brooks’ 1990 hit was to be part of a No Fences reissue to mark the album’s 25th anniversary. Brooks told the publication that they had a deal with an unnamed “non-traditional retailer” to buy over one million units, which would be resold to consumers. This deal could only happen if the music publishers agreed to a discounted royalty rate, but Sony/ATV Music and Universal Music Publishing Group fought back against the rate. If they used a higher royalty rate as Sony and Universal requested, it would drive the price of the deal upwards and out of their original budget.
As a result, Brooks contacted the publishers to ask why they wouldn’t agree to the discounted rate. “They said to protect the songwriters,” he told Billboard. “I respect that. That’s been my whole thing since day one; you have to protect the songwriters.”
Now, negotiations have come to a stand-still, which leaves many once-excited fans unhappy. Brooks says he takes full responsibility for the deal falling through. “This is 100% my fault. I’ve done this deal for 20 years,” he says. “I know how this deal works. What caught me off guard — I just never guessed — is that the rate would go up.”