Garth Brooks Headed to Sony? (A Press Conference Primer)


UPDATE: Last ditch effort to save Garth’s Ireland shows is underway. Read more in update at bottom.

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The country music world is titillated with anticipation at what Garth Brooks might be announcing at his upcoming press conference on Thursday, July 10th, scheduled to stream live on his website at noon eastern. But the cat may already be out of the bag. Yesterday Garth put to bed any speculation about if his five stadium shows in Ireland would be happening or not by canceling all five shows, and so the two remaining orders of business are the announcement of a world tour (which he’s already said there will be), and if there is new music on the way.

Over the last few days there has been industry chatter that Garth may be announcing a deal with Sony Nashville, and as it happens, the label and music publisher has announced their own press conference and luncheon tomorrow … at the same exact time as Garth’s. Coincidence? Not likely, though nothing has yet to be confirmed, and the extent and specifics of any deal are still left up for speculation.

Upon Garth’s retirement, the singer became a free agent after resolving his contract with Capitol Records, and the rights to all of his songs reverted back to him. This makes Garth an ideal candidate to set up shop wherever he wants, and as the best-selling artist in the history of country music, it’s only natural he would have his pick of suitors.

Though Sony may be Garth’s eventual destination, Cumulus Media CEO Lew Dickey floated Garth’s name out there in late May as a potential signee to Big Machine’s new NASH Icons label meant to give support to older artists just like Garth. Dickey said he expected announcements on roster additions “in the next 30 days,” but so far none have materialized.

READ: What Todd Snider Really Thinks About Garth Brooks

Very likely the specifics of a world tour will at least be part of the Garth Brooks announcement, but he already announced there will in fact be a world tour on Good Morning America in early December of 2013. “You know what, since it’s you and since we’ve had a history forever, let’s announce it. We’re going on a world tour in 2014,” Garth told Robin Roberts. “I can’t believe I just did that but you are a doll.”

Whatever Garth announces it undoubtedly will have reverberations throughout the country music world. And as mainstream country radio continues to abandon artists from Garth’s era, his actions could have sweeping effects on how older country artists currently being shoved aside will be handled.

Update on the Garth Brooks Ireland Shows

***UPDATE (7-9-14 4:00 PM CDT): According to new reports, the Garth Brooks Ireland shows may not be called off after all. In a letter to Peter Aiken, the local promoter of the Ireland Shows, Garth Brooks says,

I was informed yesterday that the shows are cancelled and the refunds will begin on Monday. I cannot being to tell you how badly my heart is breaking right now. I hope you understand that to play for 400,000 would be a dream, but to tell 160,000 of those people they are not welcome would be a nightmare. To do what the city manager suggests (play three shows and not all five) means I agree that’s how people should be treated and I just can’t agree with that.

Our guys are still en route and if there is any chance that the five planned concerts can be salvaged, and nobody is being let down then we can proceed as planned until the refunds begin. If you tell me, “Garth, thanks but it’s over.” I will cease my efforts and bring our people and gear back to the States. If you think that for any reason that the “powers that be” in Ireland can fix this, then I will faithfully go to the last second.

Please let me know how to proceed.

All my gratitude, respect, and love to you and Ireland, g

The letter comes as news of the canceled shows has created nothing short of a crisis in Ireland. The Taoiseach, or Prime Minister of Ireland Enda Kenny has become personally involved in the matter, and has organized a meeting between Dublin’s Lord Mayor Christy Burke and the City Manager Owen Keegan, in an effort to bring about a positive outcome to the controversy.

A spokesperson for Enda Kenny said, “In light of the letter from Garth Brooks today – if there was an opportunity to facilitate a positive outcome, the government would certainly consider it.”

Ireland and the local Dublin area stand to lose millions if the shows are ultimately canceled, while 18 semi trucks with Garth’s stage gear sit on a ship still steaming toward Ireland through the Atlantic Ocean.

Refunds for the five shows are still being organized by Ticketmaster, and have yet to be handed out for the five consecutive shows at Croke Park starting July 25th.

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