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What does Garth Brooks have up his sleeve?

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First published on http://www.usatoday.com/


Digital sales. Brooks has never made his music available for download, partly because he doesn’t like the notion of breaking his albums into individual tracks. “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 (iTunes),” he told reporters in 2009. If Brooks has overcome the digital hurdle, that would be an important step into the 21st century and likely would spur massive sales of both his catalog and any new music.

If Brooks does announce a tour, don’t expect him to reveal cities and dates. In the past, Brooks has preferred to announce each tour stop individually, giving cities each their own mini-burst of publicity. Also, don’t be surprised if the tour winds up lasting longer than he initially indicates; if demand stays high, it could continue into 2016 or beyond. He is, perhaps, the only act capable of making U2’s gargantuan 360 tour (2009-2011) look like a weekend jaunt.

However, Brooks may no longer carry the chart clout he did in the ’90s, when No Fences sold 17 million copies. Only one of the seven tracks he’s released to radio since his last studio album topped the country airplay charts. Even so, his Blame It All on My Roots, an eight-disc set of hits, covers and videos released through Walmartlast November, has sold 884,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

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