Garth Brooks Complains That The Gov't Ignores Musicians

from the say-what-now? dept

Singer Garth Brooks got some attention for sorta kinda unretiring, and in answering some questions he made some bizarre comments about how the government doesn’t protect musicians from piracy:

“Our government’s not doing anything about piracy. Until we can hear what a day of radio is like with no music, until this place sits silent because the music creators and the artists and copyright (holders) are not happy because they’re not being protected like everyone else is, then, yeah, I would like that power myself. It has to be placed in the right hands, so it can’t be one person, but a board that represents music, its creators and its content owners. I think that’d be more than fair to stand up and say, ‘Look, you’ve ignored us, because there’s 50,000 of us and 300 million voters. You’ve ignored us, and now to show you, we would like to just simply stop for a day,’ and see how dry this world gets.”

Really? This is the same government that has only increased copyright protections over time and never decreased them (never). This is the same government that has both Republicans and Democrats repeating the RIAA’s bogus stats on piracy. This is the same government that allows the RIAA unprecedented access in terms of setting the copyright agenda of the nation. It’s hard to see anything that the government has done that “ignores” artists in favor of the rights of the rest of the country. I can’t name a single thing.

And I’m curious as to what he means by “they’re not being protected like everyone else is.” That’s also not true. Copyright has been twisted to grant more rights than everyone else, in that it allows copyright holders to control what happens to works after they’re sold. In many ways they get extra protection from folks in any other line of work.

Finally, he seems to assume that the only reason people create music is because of these protections — and yet, as piracy has increased, so has the number of musicians and albums being produced. So, if he wants to create some sort of union that goes on “strike” for a day, I would imagine that there would be a massive influx of indie musicians (I guess they’d be “scabs”) more than willing to get their music on the radio instead.

The problem is that for the vast majority of musicians who are not Garth Brooks, the bigger issue is obscurity, not piracy. Having those big name musicians take themselves out of the competition for even a day would thrill plenty of smart musicians, giving them a chance to get attention normally reserved for the Garth Brooks’ of the world.

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Comments on “Garth Brooks Complains That The Gov't Ignores Musicians”

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Anonymous Coward says:

nice work fawktard, I was going to take my wife and daughter to Vegas to see ya, but now you can suck eggs since you are taking sides with the RIAA whom treats its customers as criminals then extorts money out of grandmas whom DONT EVEN HAVE INTERNET for downloading MP3s.

Garth Brooks joining the ranks of other well know RIAA supporters like U2, Metallica, Prince to name a few.

BOYCOTT until YOUR DEAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hard of Reading says:


What a load of unconsequntial garbage.

A) A pack of Lies
B) Unreadable

Who on earth put you up to this????? Obviously didn’t think of this all by yourself – so fess up – who paid you?

A day of no music on the radio if this is the kind of drivel we must listen to is just 364 days short of a year with no music on the radio.
Where’s the publicity and resultant royalies coming fom then? NOWHERE

Ima Fish (profile) says:

Garth Brooks is a retard. He once appeared on either Letterman or Leno and called used CD sales “stealing.”

According to Wikipedia Brooks refused to allow his CD In Pieces from being sold in stores which also sold used CDs. His label CBS was sued and eventually the CD was sold everywhere.

I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times, used game and CD sales do not harm anyone!

Paul (profile) says:

“…Protected like everyone else is…”

I’m an engineer. I get payed a salary plus some rather inconsequential and sometimes even insulting bonuses. My work is sold over and over to great returns by the various companies.

I am just saying. If he wants musicians to be protected just like everyone else, I say give it to him. I think there is no better way of describing copyright reform than Sir Garth’s very words.

Free Capitalist (profile) says:

Un-American, Defined

They truly think that they’re saving music. I looked at them right across the table with all the love in the world and told them they were killing it. Until we get variable pricing, until we get album-only (downloads), then they are not a true retailer for my stuff, and you won’t see my stuff on there.

Yes, yes iTunes is killing music. This genius is cutting himself off from a distributor accounting for 20% of all music sales everywhere. He would rather the government write him a check than allow even the slightest modification to the nature of music distribution.

That’s about as far from the “country” paradigm as I can imagine.

Garth Brooks is to country music (and music in general) as Jane Fonda was to the anti-war movement.

Another AC says:

I Dare you...

Go ahead Music industry, just stop for a day. Please, I beg of you. All the independent artists will love to have a day without your competition.

Too chicken? I thought so.

Funny, I emailed my favorite radio station today, after the Radio tax thing and asked them to stop playing and promoting music that is supported by the copyright lobbies.

rival (profile) says:

I fully support Mr. Brooks’ effort to convince musicians to go on strike.

How about for more than a day? How about a week? I doubt that would be long enough for us to realize that no new music is getting out, though… Better make it at least a month… Probably closer to a year before people realize they haven’t heard anything new.

Mr. Brooks forgets that there are people for whom earning millions isn’t a necessity; earning a comfortable, living wage is sufficient.

Presently, the record labels are the ones who decide whether an artist will be able to earn a living wage. They only retain artists that they know they can make money off of, and send everyone else packing.

Eliminating the record-label choke-points will allow far more artists to earn a living wage, although it will probably hurt many of the superstars, like Mr. Brooks. Frankly, I’d rather hear the music of someone who’s passion is the music, not the money. That person gets my attention, and my dollar.

The Buzz Saw (profile) says:


I know a woman who never paid a single dime for any Garth Brooks music. She was introduced to Garth’s music through her brother. Her brother played the music for her, copied his own albums for her, and got her hooked on Garth Brooks. Dirty rotten pirate, right? Well, when she heard that Garth Brooks was passing through her state, she convinced her husband, her brother, and her brother’s wife all to buy $80 tickets.

Still think piracy is harming the industry? Fine. Garth, you owe them $320.

And LOL @ the radio threats. I haven’t listened to the radio in years. Pure garbage.

Tom The Toe says:

Garth, You're an Idiot

I’m from Oklahoma as is Garth. I listened to what he had to say and all I could do is shake my head in disgust. I work with independent musicians every day and everything he proposes would only hold new music back in favor of the old established crap. I can only hope he can unionize and go silent (forever). Unions have their place in time, which is past. They only thing they can do for you now is place your wages above your productivity (Which will cause you all to be out of work, like the auto and steel industry).

taoareyou (profile) says:


The only use I have for my car radio is to listen to live talk radio, generally on AM stations where I can listen to local issues. The only music I listen to is either streamed in via an Internet site (I’m one of those Pandora subscribers, but I don’t write letters on their behalf), or on my iPhone already.

If local music radio disappeared completely it would not affect me at all.

roxanneadams (profile) says:

I’m a fan of Garth Brooks, but comments like these are what cause me to put the credit card back in my wallet, without buying those expensive concert tickets.

There’s plenty of musicians from the 70’s and 80’s who had a couple of hits, and they’ve spent the rest of their careers touring and playing smaller venues. It’s possible to find most of them online, sign up for email updates through their websites, and keep track of their concert schedules. I prefer to support these artists.

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:


I call on Garth to step up, lead this revolution. He needs to go on strike, not for a day, not for a week, but until this piracy issue is fully resolved. I call on all artists who are worried that this piracy threat will cost them money to join Garth. I call on all record labels who are worried to do the same. Stop producing music, stop producing CDs, remove your music from online media.

I also call on all music store owners to stop selling the CDs of the artists and labels in this strike. Stop selling them so that those dirty pirates can just steal them.

I urge all listeners of music to stop supporting those dirty pirates, stop downloading songs, stop listening to those thieving radio stations, stop buying those CDs from the stores that profit from piracy.

Let’s see just how damaged our culture can get.

*I truly, honestly believe this. If they are that worried about the piracy issue, they need to go on strike until it’s resolved.

CommonSense (profile) says:

Too Good

This is just too good. I got really heated reading what this A-hole said, and luckily Mike already said half of what I was thinking. Everything else I saw in the comments already, but it just can’t be said too much.

“I think that’d be more than fair to stand up and say, ‘Look, you’ve ignored us, because there’s 50,000 of us and 300 million voters.”
– The government is elected by those 300 million voters to LOOK AFTER THE VOTERS, NOT CORPORATIONS AND MONEY HUNGRY ASS HATS LIKE YOU GARTH BROOKS!!! Treat your fans like people, and not paychecks that you think you are entitled to because someone thought you were better than the next guy. Then this wouldn’t be a problem. The real issue isn’t that you’re not protected, it’s that other corps/industries are protected so much. This is a free market economy (is supposed to be anyway…) and that means the CONSUMERS rule supreme, not you, and not the government. It was designed that way for a reason.

“You’ve ignored us, and now to show you, we would like to just simply stop for a day,’ and see how dry this world gets.”
– Please Garth Brooks, stop not just for a day, but STOP FOREVER! I promise that for every greedy moron like yourself, there are 10 other aspiring musicians waiting for you to go away so they can get some attention. Pull your music from the radio, tell your friends to pull theirs, and since no one who’s music is on the radio will need such absurd fees for promoting them, the whole industry gets cheaper, and we’ll see better radio stations. We’ll also see better music, because instead of working for a paycheck, the musicians will be working for the reason music began – to try and make good music. Fans won’t have to listen to the likes of Soulja Boy, who can only be around because he paid someone (TERRIBLE MUSIC, yet he’s on the radio all the damn time?!?!?!?!) because artists will be competing based on their quality, not who’s nargle they snargled…

Jersey Girl says:

Re: Too Good

yeah, if you’d ever met him, you’d know he treats his fans better than anyone else in the business. And if you paid attention, he was talking about the songwriters and the faceless people who only get credit for studio work, but whom are worthy of getting paid for the skills. Perhaps the people who only hear what they WANT to hear are the ones that should shut up for a day and maybe they’d actually hear the whole thing!

CommonSense (profile) says:

Re: Re: Too Good

Oh yeah, that’s the way to help the faceless people who don’t get credit… Give more power to the people (read corporations) that decide not to give them money or credit… Absolutely, the government should step in and protect the status quo, because if they do everyone who’s not getting paid right now will magically get a paycheck!!! Jersey Girl, get off Garth’s nuts. He’s not interested in anyone but himself, and this is proof. If he really wanted to help the little guys in the industry, he’d be lobbying against the RIAA, so that those little guys could choose to work for any artist they wanted, and could then limit themselves to working for only those who thanked them appropriately, be that via recognition or payment. Instead, they’re forced to sign contracts or sign over the rights to their work, because the only other option is to not do what they love. Think about the ACTUAL ACTIONS here, not just the gift wrapped, ‘heart felt’, statement that Garth Brooks had someone else write up for him, so that people like you wouldn’t think he really is the ass hat that he is.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Re: Too Good

“yeah, if you’d ever met him, you’d know he treats his fans better than anyone else in the business. And if you paid attention, he was talking about the songwriters and the faceless people who only get credit for studio work, but whom are worthy of getting paid for the skills. Perhaps the people who only hear what they WANT to hear are the ones that should shut up for a day and maybe they’d actually hear the whole thing!”

You know, I really tried to read and understand your post, but all I heard in my mind’s voice was:


vivaelamor (profile) says:

Re: Re: Too Good (@Jersey Girl)

I am sorry if I also failed to pay attention but I cannot seem to find where Mr Brooks mentions anything about songwriters or other studio staff apart from a reference to ‘music creators’ which could mean a number of things.

Besides, if people aren’t getting their fair share that is a fault of their contracts, not people ‘pirating’. If there is not enough money to go around then that is a fault of the business model, again, not people ‘pirating’. If those who work with him are not able to make a living out of his business model then stopping seems like the most reasonable thing to do.

When Mr Brooks stops talking about what he wants government to do about the ‘pirates’ and starts explaining why ‘piracy’ should be illegal, maybe people will be able to respond with something more constructive than indignation.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: waa waa waa

“Go ahead and cry but guess what, he’s still sitting where he is, and you’re still sitting here whining.”

Well, it would appear that where he’s sitting is in Owasso, Oklahoma, where he’s enjoying such activities as being the third husband to his second wife, arguing with Chris Gaines in the mirror, and in general working hard on becoming the Brett Favre of country music….

Yeah, I hope you know I’ve just been having fun with you and wasn’t intending to be mean (or cyber bullying!), but I’m going to go ahead and say that sitting here and whining is the better option of the two….

RadialSkid says:

Funny, I seem to remember Garth Brooks retiring from music after his first daughter was born…in the FREAKING 1990s!

Part of “retiring,” Garth, is that you GO AWAY. You were fun for a while 15 years ago, but you’ve long ago lost your relevance. By all means, prove your point by not playing music anymore. Teach us all a lesson. PLEASE.

ron swehla says:

garth brooks

I think garth brooks should realize everyone is not rich like him and paying .99 for a record on itunes is alot of money this day and age. I have been a garth brooks fan since he began after his comments he may as well stay in retirement. I agree the people who steal music are wrong but the people who pay 99 cents are buying it. and i am sure at 99 cents they will make alot more money than at a price of 1.99 or 2.99 because the normal person does not have that kind of money. I hope his come back falls flat on its face.

Anonymous Coward says:

I think its great that artists like Garth Brooks, John Rich and Toby Keith are so quick to be the voice of the poor song writers that don’t “ever get enough credit” and are never paid what their worth. Afterall, when we download free music that’s really who we’re hurting cause they’re always the last to get a piece of the pie. Just out of curiousity…what part of each million those guys made went to the song writers. Lead by example people.

AL says:

Oy vey.

He thinks people should have to buy his entire cd when they only want one song? Doesn’t he relize he’s shooting himself in the foot because gone are the days where I will pay for a whole cd when I can get just one song that I actually want. I love the song “When You Come Back to me Again” and I would love a copy of his version. I honestly like it best. But if he’s going to force me to buy a whole cd for the one song, I’m sorry. I’m going to wait until I find a cover by someone else (though I may not like the version as much) because I’d rather pay for a song I like but not as much than pay for a whole cd to get one song and I love and 9 others I couldn’t care less about. $15-$18 for ONE SONG?? Who’s cheating who now?

Donald Fout says:

Garth Brooks' early days of playing and singing

In all that I have read in these comments I haven’t seen one thing about what songs Garth (or any of the other artists) played while they were getting started. They talk about pirating. How many tapes did they make so they could hear and learn songs that they didn’t pay for? How many gigs did the play that they never paid for the songs that they used? I’ll bet that if you checked it would be the proverbial pot calling the kettle black. If thee bands and the radio stations did not play the songs then where would they be? Like was said, there are many, including myself, who would greatly love to have our songs played over the radio and by other bands just to get the notoriety. I think it’s a crime that the protecting companies are even allowed to sue bars and such for infringement. I can understand if someone wants to make copies for sale, then yes, they should pay for the rights, but just to listen to? They say a bar in Idaho was playing songs that they had no license to. What license? They are advertising for the record companies and the record companies are complaining? I don’t see why. As for Garth, I, personally, think that he hurt real country music. He made it more rockish, complete with the theatrics. But, you must admit that his music is loved by a lot of people.

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