Garth Brooks

The Limited Series [1998]

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Is Garth Brooks a musician or a businessman? From the looks of The Limited Series, the answer may be businessman. Under the guise of providing customers and independent retailers a bargain, Brooks repackaged his first six studio albums (Christmas albums not included) as a limited-edition box set, adding one bonus track to each album; the set also includes a photo booklet instead of liner notes. Ignoring the fact that this favors big chains instead of indie record stores, since they're able to purchase large quantities and then offer the set at an enormous discount, there's a major catch that may frustrate fans. Once the two million copies of the box set are sold out, each of the individual titles will be taken off the market and placed on "moratorium" until their tenth anniversary. Evidently, Brooks has taken his cue from Disney, who pull their classic animated movies from the video market for several years, waiting for a new generation to come of age. It hasn't been proven that Brooks' tactic will work since music consumers are drastically different than movie buffs, but there's also the problem that once each of the records are reissued, they'll only be available in the DVD Audio form. In other words, The Limited Series is the last time these albums will be released on CD. That may not be a big deal, considering there are countless used copies of No Fences and Ropin' the Wind floating around, but it's still something to give even die-hard fans pause. So, if you haven't bought these albums on CD yet, this is an easy, affordable way to pick up all the records at once. But keep in mind that by picking this set up, you're implicitly endorsing Brooks' marketing scheme.

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