An Open Letter To Garth Brooks

Mr. Brooks,

As a longtime fan, I feel I have to speak up. I read on that you will be teaming with Target to release yet another boxset of (mostly) old material. How many times can you package and repackage the same material? When is enough, enough? I know you’re a master at marketing, but this goes way beyond marketing, Sir, it’s over the top and embarrassing.

I doubt your reason for doing this is money. In fact, I don’t believe any of the boxsets you’ve released have been about making money, but padding sales figures. And I sort of understand your obsession with sales figures; you want to get back on top of the Beatles and stay ahead of Elvis in U.S. album sales. But dumping repackaged material, with the odd unreleased track or ten (I figured the vaults would be dry by now, but apparently not), is kind of cheating, isn’t it?

Most music fans have no idea that every disc in a boxset counts as one unit sold. So if you release, say a ten disc set like the upcoming Garth Brooks: Ultimate Collection, and it sells a million copies, it counts as 10 million albums sold. While some might call this sort of trickery artful marketing, I call it duping your fans. And it sort of cheapens what you do. The game becomes more about quantity than it does quality, and that’s a damn shame.

You have given your fans some great albums – No Fences, Fresh Horses, Scrarecrow, to name a few of my favourites – but another boxset of old material? Come on? (I’m aware the new set will include your upcoming studio album and a few unreleased tracks, but that’s just more clever marketing.) How about recording ten discs of new material and releasing them in a boxset? Now that would be historical, and something that would send fans scrambling to the nearest GiangantaMart, cash in hand.

In all fairness, Mr. Brooks, I know the artists you’re trying to top have all had their material packaged and repackaged over and over again, making their sales numbers suspect as well. But Elvis is dead, and so are half the Beatles, so they really can’t record any new material.

In the end, you can do whatever you want, Sir, and my words (which you will likely never read) are the equivalent of pissing in the wind. But I had to speak up. I look forward to your new studio album, but I don’t think I will waste any ink on the boxset when it comes out, I’ve wasted enough ink on it here already.