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Garth-brooks-to-fansSo apparently Garth Brooks was retired and now he's back on RCA Records. And this time he's releasing his new album digitally, as well as his back catalogue, but only via his own site. Unfortunately it's unclear whether it's just digital downloads or if streaming is involved though downloads seem most likely. Perhaps more importantly this decision, inspired partly by iTunes, means that his new site, where they'll have their "own version of social media," will also have an even stronger draw for Garth Brooks' fans cementing it as homebase.

Garth Brooks Tells Fans About The Upcoming Site

In an official announcement, Team Garth revealed that:

"for the first time ever, Garth catalogue music and as well as the new studio album will be available digitally, exclusively through his website at GarthBrooks.com, beginning with catalogue content in the next few weeks."

In a video message to fan, Brooks discussed the new site, which launches tomorrow, in exceptionally off-the-cuff terms which matched the goals of the new site:

"We're going to kind of introduce our own version of social media. But the truth is, it's not for the world, it's for you and me [Garth gestures back and forth between the viewers on camera and himself]."

"That's what we're going to introduce on our website."

"They're going to let me get to see you not only out live on tour but we'll get to see it through the website."

"So I'm excited. Any secrets, anything that we have to know, this is where we're going to find it."

The phrasing's a bit odd but having been delivered many highly polished yet essentially meaningless quotes from people at his level of the game, it's nice to hear somebody thinking out loud about something new and trying to tell people about it.

Digital Music Details A Bit Fuzzy

There was also a press conference where Brooks said they'd talked to iTunes but that they didn't want to offer single song downloads so that was a no go.

But check this out:

"What's unclear (because nobody asked this at his press conference) is whether the music offered on his website will be available as downloads or streaming."

I'm guessing downloads, based on what was said, along with merch and a social network plus concert listings, etc.

The site itself is unlikely to be anything radical. What's important about this news is that Brooks is establishing a direct-to-fan platform that Team Garth controls. And it's quite possible that iTunes' rigid structure was a deciding factor in keeping digital in-house which will cause a massive flood of fans to the site.

Digital Music and Direct Relationships To Fans

If viewed as part of a growing but haphazard trend towards artists taking control of their own platforms and their relationships with fans, something we associate more with efforts like that of Deadmau5 or Sub Pop as well as those developing socially-oriented fan clubs, then it's also part of a growing shift to find alternatives to the near monopolies of such companies as Apple (iTunes), Google (YouTube) and Facebook.

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Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch) also blogs at DanceLand. Send news about music tech startups and services, DIY music biz and music marketing to: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.

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