None of the three contestants could identify the country superstar — and their ignorance may have to do with his unique approach to streaming.
Who is Garth Brooks?
That’s a response none of Tuesday’s Jeopardy contestants could summon during a category on 1990s music — because it’s also a question they seemingly can’t answer.
The $800 puzzle during the Double Jeopardy round provided a photo of the musician, with the clue "This country superstar's 'Friends in Low Places' was named CMA Single of the Year in 1991."
None of the three players buzzed in to attempt an answer, which shocked host Ken Jennings. "Whoa, how soon we forget. That's Chris Gaines' alter ego, Garth Brooks," he said, referencing the singer's fictional rock star character from his 1999 album Garth Brooks in…the Life of Chris Gaines.
Brooks is the highest-selling solo artist of all time, according to the Recording Industry Association of America, ahead of the likes of Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Madonna, and Taylor Swift. With more than 162 million albums sold, he's second to only the Beatles in all-time record sales. Why couldn't any of the Jeopardy players identify Brooks?
The country superstar’s status may have slipped in our collective consciousness due to his unusual approach to digital distribution. During iTunes' heyday, Brooks withheld his catalog from the online seller, and only made his music available for digital purchase on his own platform, GhostTunes, beginning in 2014.
Brooks then signed an exclusive contract with Amazon Music in 2016, so his music has only been available to stream via that single digital platform. Brooks explained his deal with Amazon at the Country Radio Seminar earlier this year.
"The fact is that Amazon is a retailer as well," Brooks said. "So you can sign your streaming deal, but part of that streaming deal is to move those physical units so the songwriters get paid. And people, we can talk all day that 'Garth went on to raise his kids, what a great' — Garth did that for himself. I stick up for the songwriters because I’m freakin' one of them! Everything I do for the songwriters, I do for myself."
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