Amazon gives customers more Garth Brooks for the holidays – The Verge

Amazon is kicking off the holiday season by giving its customers the entire catalog of country music star Garth Brooks, the best-selling solo artist in US history. Brooks’ 16-album collection will be available exclusively on Amazon Music, starting on December 24th at the stroke of midnight Eastern Standard time. Fans who are Amazon Music Unlimited subscribers can stream the entire compilation, and Brooks’ albums will also be made available for purchase and digital downloads.

The online retail giant announced the launch of Amazon Music, its long-rumored on-demand music service, in October this year. The launch was not accompanied by album or artist exclusives, which has become somewhat commonplace in the age of streaming services. The major exception to that trend is Spotify, who reportedly told Billboard that exclusives are bad for the music industry.

Drake’s most recent album, Views, was an Apple Music and iTunes exclusive the week it was released. Grammy winner Frank Ocean released his digital album Blonde exclusively on Apple Music, which led his former label, Universal Music Group (UMG), to ban exclusives for its artists (Ocean released Blonde after fulfilling his contract with UMG.)

Amazon Music has sought to differentiate itself from its competitors by providing lower prices, and promoting its user-friendliness and technology — particularly its voice integration with Echo and Alexa. Plans range from $3.99 a month, $7.99 a month, $9.99 a month, and $14.99 a month. Yearly plans are also available for $79 and $149.

However, shortly after its release, Amazon Music announced its exclusive partnership with Garth Brooks. Earlier that month, Amazon Music vice president Steve Boom reportedly said that Amazon doesn’t have a “firm-stance on full on exclusives” and was evaluating on whether to include exclusives in their strategy.

What makes the Amazon Music / Garth Brooks partnership different from other exclusives is that he is an artist whose popularity peaked over a decade ago. But it appears that Brooks continues to have a solid fan base. In a statement, Boom said that two months after his exclusive debut on Amazon Music, Brooks “has become one of the top streamed artists” on the service.

Brooks has sold a total of 138 million albums during the course of his career, ahead of Elvis Presley at 136 million but behind The Beatles at 178 million, as reported by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). He is the first artist with seven diamond albums, a label given by the RIAA for albums that sells for 10 million copies or more.

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