How Garth Brooks Handpicked Retail Outlets For Career-Spanning Vinyl Box Set 'Legacy': Exclusive

Garth Brooks
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

Garth Brooks performs onstage during MusiCares Person of the Year honoring Dolly Parton at Los Angeles Convention Center on Feb. 8, 2019 in Los Angeles. 

Traditional Brooks Partners Target and Walmart Are Not Carrying the Set

When Garth Brooks releases his massive boxset Legacy Nov. 1, he will have retail friends in new places. 

The 7-vinyl/7-CD set, released via Brooks’ Pearl Records, will be available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Bass Pro, Best Buy, Bi-Lo, Cabela’s, Costco, Cracker Barrel, Dollar General, Fry’s Food, FYE, Winn-Dixie and several independent record stores, a number of which are carrying the superstar’s product for the first time. 

Legacy, which comes in three configurations, is limited to around 500,000 sets, roughly 15 percent of which have already sold direct-to-consumer through four pre-sales conducted via online social-selling network Talk Shop Live. 

Amazon, Best Buy and Dollar General placed the most orders, with Dollar General confirming that it will sell the set in all 16,000 of its locations throughout 44 states. 

Two longtime, valued retail partners for Brooks -- Walmart and Target -- will not be carrying the box set in stores. Both retailers solicited customers through a now sold-out online pre-sale and Pearl fulfilled those orders, but by the time the country icon and the two big box retailers could come to terms on in-store orders, all the sets were snapped up by other retailers. Both Brooks and Target stress they hope to work together on future Brooks releases. “I wouldn't have a career without Walmart or Target and I don't plan on trying to have one without them,” Brooks says. Walmart reps did not comment by press time. 

As the negotiations on the six-pound box set with the two giants continued, other retailers stepped up. “When the other retail stores heard that Walmart and Target had still not [ordered] yet and it was limited, my epiphany was they buy a lot more if they think Target and Walmart will not be carrying it,” Brooks says, sitting in his Nashville recording studio, Allentown.

In going to retail, Brooks decided to forego traditional music distributors and sell directly to each retailer, although sources say that some of those deals required the hiring of third-party logistic providers to get the product to the stores. Brooks hired retail consultant Kerri Fox-Metoyer to negotiate with each retailer to tailor deals specific to each outlet’s needs. Some deals are one-way, while others allow for returns.

The three configurations contain Brooks’ new live collection, Triple Live, which had only been available through a limited download window last year; 1990’s No Fences, 1992’s The Chase, 1993’s In Pieces and 1995’s Fresh Horses both in vinyl and CD. One version features the music available in its original analog recording, a second in a digital remixed and remastered version and a third offers 180-gram analog vinyl, the remixed and remastered CDs, a poster and special graphic-designed box. Each CD in all configurations includes a bonus cut previously available only on a collector’s edition. The suggested list price ranges from $49.95 to $74.99 for the sets. There are six different covers for Triple Live, which Brooks expects fans will swap with each other to collect all, as they did for Double Live. That 1998 concert set has received the RIAA’s Double Diamond Award for sales in excess of 20 million units.

Most stores are carrying only one configuration, though Amazon, which has exclusive streaming rights for Brooks’ releases, will offer all three packages, as will Best Buy. Pearl created a floor display to handle the product since the box does not fit into existing shelf space. 

Brooks based the box set’s contents on logistics -- 1997’s Sevens didn’t make the cut because it would have had to be double vinyl -- and the albums whose songs make up the bulk of his live show. “I can’t imagine doing a Garth Brooks vinyl set without getting to hear ‘The Thunder Rolls’ on vinyl,’” he says. “When In Pieces fell in, that made me extremely happy because that’s our stadium show right there: ‘Standing Outside the Fire,’ ‘Calling Baton Rouge.’”

Brooks, who is up for CMA entertainer of the year, is one year into a three-year North American stadium tour. 

For Brooks, the key to joining the vinyl explosion was finding a fan-friendly price point that worked for him. “You can [spend] $15 or $19 for one piece of vinyl and some collector’s pieces that are $49 to $77, and we’re sitting there going, ‘I can’t justify selling vinyl for $20 a pop. This is not for us,’ but our [fans] are asking for vinyl,” he says. “The reason why vinyl intrigues me so much is it’s an ask to own music. You can’t rent vinyl, you can’t stream it. The thought that my daughters’ generation wants to own music shocked me.”

Brooks and his team linked with Technicolor to produce the set, coming up with a price point that he felt worked for his audience. Eight plants in four different countries manufactured the sets. “The reason we have a limited number is because it takes eight months to make the sets and this was the most they could make in that eight-month period,” Brooks says.

In addition to Legacy, Brooks was planning a fall release for new studio set, Fun, his first since 2016’s Gunslinger, which included the Country Airplay No. 1, “Ask Me How I Know.” Fun’s release has now been moved into early 2020 as to not conflict with Legacy, which will continue to be pushed into the holiday season. Brooks sees Legacy as a Christmas present for the multi-generations of Brooks’ fans to enjoy. “I see this as a gift,” he says. “If I’m a parent and I want my kids to hear the music that I as a kid played, this is a great way to put it on vinyl and play around the house. I know that from my own childhood, the stuff that we listened to as a family probably created my best memories.” 

Ed Christman assisted in preparing this story.

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