Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Apple? Brooks still won't bite, but offers his own downloads

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Country music star Garth Brooks

MARK HUMPHREY / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Enlarge Image

Country music star Garth Brooks

NASHVILLE -- Garth Brooks is finally embracing digital music, but he's doing it his own way.

Brooks, one of the last holdout big-name musicians still refusing to put his music on iTunes, said Thursday he will make his back catalogue of hits and his new music available for download, but only through his own website. His new album is expected later this year.

The 52-year-old country artist remains one of music's top-selling artists, with 134 million albums sold, according to the Recording Industry Association of America. He has said in the past that he had no animosity toward Apple, but disagreed with its approach to selling music.

Other performers who refused to join iTunes but later reached deals include AC/DC, Radiohead and Led Zeppelin. ITunes was launched in 2001.

"So, we'll be doing our digital the best way we can, the only way we know how, because we are the only ones who kind of play our own way," Brooks said at a press conference in Nashville.

He also announced a new deal with the Sony Music label, which will put out an album of his first new music since 2001. Brooks said it would likely be issued sometime around U.S. Thanksgiving. He said more details on a world tour will be coming soon.

Brooks entered semi-retirement in 2001 near the height of his popularity to be with his three daughters and his wife, Trisha Yearwood. Since then he has performed an extended run in Las Vegas and done a few charity shows.

Brooks said he's grateful for his fans sticking around during his time off from the road.

"A second half of a career isn't granted," Brooks said. "I'm not saying that's what I have now, but you have given me a shot to have it."

 

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 11, 2014 D2

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