Saturday, August 20, 2005

GARTH DOES A DEAL WITH WAL-MART

There's very little to celebrate for anyone (besides Gath Brooks and Wal-Mart) in the news that Garth and the supermarket-cum-empire have cut a deal which will restrict sales of his entire back catalogue to Walmart, Sams Club, and Walmart.com.

It'll put the fear of god into other high street music retailers - if this sort of thing starts to happen a lot, HMV, Virgin and Tower might find their already stretched shops starting to look more and more threadbare; it'll unsettle online retailers like Amazon; it'll do consumers no good - if you want Garth Brooks records, you've now got no choice but to give trade to Wal-Mart.

And it reflects really badly on Brooks that he's happy to get into bed with such a dubious company. Not that it would bother the multi-millionaire much, but the rapidly-expanding chain is a bad neighbour. For example, it threw a hissy fit in Canada when its workers exercised their right to form a union, and closed the store in a huff. In another charming move, the company allowed a charity in Logan County to put a box by the doors to collect toys for underprivileged youngsters. As soon as the box filled, Wal-Mart manager Brad Barritt told his staff to remove the toys and place them back on the shelves because he had "no video proof" the items had been paid for. And so on. That's the corporate ethos that Garth has now delivered control of his art to.

Still, we imagine he'll do alright out of the deal. And he does have a wedding to pay for.


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