Garth Brooks is trying to tie the free streaming of his new album to the first anniversary of his sister’s death. He writes in an email to fans sent overnight that “we lost my sister Betsy on Halloween night.” But his half sister, Betsy Smittle, died on November 2, 2013. I’m sure he means well, Garth is a nice guy, but what the heck is this all about?
Well, it’s about ghosts. Betsy is dead, and Garth has his own digital music service called Ghostunes. And on Halloween, for 24 hours, he’s streaming a preview of his new album on Ghostunes. He says a friend of his at Ghostunes suggested this. Maybe. But Brooks owns Ghostunes. He makes it seem like someone else does.
And Ghostunes is really wonky. It’s just kind of a mess. Trisha Yearwood’s new album is listed as having come out on September 20th. When I saw this, I panicked. Really? Did I miss it? No, “Prizefighter” will be released on November 17th. Not only that, on a list of “Garth’s favorite artists” Yearwood is only number 10. She’s his wife! That can’t be a good thing.
Is Ghostunes ready for an onslaught of listeners tomorrow? I doubt it. I tried lots of things, from selecting to actually trying to buy stuff. The site needs a squirt of WD 40, like the Tin Man. And the selection of songs and albums is scattershot. They do have Taylor Swift’s new album, “1989” for $11.99– a dollar less than iTunes– but you have to hunt for it.
As for Garth’s new album, it still has no title. Or release date. And it’s unclear if what’s streaming is little bits of songs with commentary, or the whole thing. The show begins at midnight tonight.