This week, country radio execs across the nation have ascended on Nashville for Country Radio Seminar (CRS). The yearly event brings radio personnel to Music City for a unique convention and trade show. On Thursday (Feb 23rd), Garth Brooks gave a keynote, titled “Inside Studio G,” where he offered “an intimate, behind-the-scenes look into the business and life of the reigning CMA Entertainer of the Year.”
The singer took a Q&A style approach to his weekly Facebook Live series and interacted with the crowd face to face. Among the topics was his approach for announcing tour dates one city at a time. Conducted by Brooks’ own Pearl Records Regional Promotion Director Glenn Noblit, Brooks explains this process.
“We like to take a city and grab it… and now just don’t let it go!” he states. “So six weeks before the show, we’re gonna announce. Five weeks before the show, we’re gonna put tickets on sale and hopefully it’s just gonna boil. And our job when we come into the city is to burn that thing down. That’s our job! You talk about a fun, fun thing to do, but concerts are like sex, actually, when you think about it. Because the whole time you’re working to get an invitation back!”
Brooks explains that attending concerts isn’t an easy task when you factor in the price of multiple tickets, babysitters, meals, beer, souvenirs and parking. “In Boston the parking was more than the price of the concert ticket,” he noted. “It’s a pain in the ass to go to these things. And yet they show up, man. And they show up in the back freakin’ rows. And they’re as excited as the people up front.”
During the hour long keynote, Brooks also explained why he has gone fully independent and hired his own label staff to promote and distribute his music.
“You’re always fighting for the music,” Brook explains. “Labels fight for the music, but they’re publicly owned companies so they have other agendas that they have. What I love about dealing with radio is it’s just straight forward. You get people listening to the station, advertising pays the bills, good music, hopefully, is your job, and so everybody gets to work in the music business there.”
Brooks, who owns the master recordings to all of his albums, signed with Sony Music Nashville in 2013, but left after the label realized Brooks was unwilling to change his stance on digital downloads and streaming.
“When it came to Sony, they realized no digital downloads, no streaming, and no YouTube — there’s a big one right there,” he says. “So those three things you realize, ‘Holy cow, I’m no good to a label, so maybe the label I need to be on is something that works in this area here.'”
Brooks has since partnered with Amazon Music for streaming and digital downloads. He says the opportunity was a “no brainer” since they also have a physical component.
“Right when the label was being formed, we got a call from Amazon, out of the blue,” he explains. “We had wonderful talks with Spotify and we’ve had honest conversations with iTunes, but none of them were what we needed. We needed somebody who was involved in digital and physical and streaming — all three. There ain’t anybody like that out there, until now. So, when Amazon called, it was like a no brainer. And Amazon was just quoted as the most reliable retail source on the planet, so it seemed like a great marriage. It’s just starting.”
Also during the speech, it was noted that Brooks latest single, “Baby, Let’s Lay Down And Dance,” is working its way into the Top 10, which is a feat for an independent artist. He also confirmed a new live album, jokingly called Triple Live, coming after the North American leg of the tour wraps this fall. No other details were revealed.
See the entire keynote below.
Author: Buddy Iahn
Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites.