Garth Brooks, Steve Boom discuss music consumption in the age of streaming


As trends have shifted from radio to cd’s, mp3’s to iPods, Spotify to Apple Music and beyond, streaming seems to have solidified its place in the future of music consumption.

On Friday afternoon, country singer and songwriter Garth Brooks and Amazon’s Vice President of Worldwide Digital music Steve Boom discussed this topic in a panel which focused on streaming services with a country-specific outlook.

There’s hardly a better spokesperson for this audience than Brooks, a Country Music Hall of Famer and one of the best selling artists of all time. He made his music available to stream only last year, a wait even longer than it took The Beatles to release their music on these platforms.

Brooks said his reason for doing so was because of the diverse ways in which people consume music — he wanted to make his art available on one platform that catered to the needs of all his fans.

“I was looking for the impossible,” Brooks said. “I was looking for one company that did it all.”

He found the closest answer in his current partner, Amazon.

Boom said his company’s music streaming services is among the most desired by country fans.

“Country music on Amazon music is twice as popular as it is an any other music service,” Boom said.

This brand devotion may be due to the brand loyalty of country fans, which Brooks said is a group characterized by this trait.

“They will live and die with you,” Brooks said.  

However, Brooks also acknowledged the dangers of streaming to his genre.

“From 2000 to now Nashville has lost over 84 percent of its songwriters,” Brooks said. “When there's only a few people that are making number one hits, the music all starts to sound the same.”

But when it all comes down to it, Brooks said streaming is beneficial to audiences because of the control it gives individual listeners to build the soundtrack to their lives.

“[Being able to say] ‘I dug in there, I found it,’” Brooks said. “I think that’s what makes music priceless.”