First published on www.usatoday.com
Brooks came back with his first tour and album of new material in 13 years, but if the top-selling recording artist of the past 25 years thought he’d pick up right where he left off, he faced a few surprises. While Brooks already has sold more than a million tickets for his tour, which launched in September, he lost out on an additional 400,000 sales when five shows at Croke Park in Dublin, were canceled because of permit issues. Then single People Loving People got a lukewarm reception from radio programmers. Brooks also tried to fight a two-front battle with digital sales and streaming, launching his own GhostTunes service to sell his catalog and new album Man Against Machine. GhostTunes’ failure to report its sales to Nielsen SoundScan kept Man Against Machine from charting as high as it might have otherwise, leaving Brooks looking more like an aging star in a youngster’s game than a returning conqueror.