Seger's music finally available for streaming

Starting today, 13 Seger albums head to Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon and other streaming services, ending long stalemate

Adam Graham
The Detroit News

After a lengthy holdout which left his albums unavailable on streaming platforms, Bob Seger has finally gone digital.

Beginning today, Seger’s music is available to stream on services including Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Napster, Slacker Radio and the iHeartRadio app.

The move ends a long digital freeze-out stemming from arguments between Seger’s longtime manager, Punch Andrews, and his record label, Capitol Records, over royalty issues.

“They agreed to something many years ago about new media and they don’t want to live up to it,” Seger told Rolling Stone about the holdout in 2014. “The record business is 50 percent of what it was ten years ago, so they’re trying to cut costs. Until that’s resolved, we let very little out.”

At the same time, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer conceded he was frustrated by the stalemate. “I wish people could get any song at any time,” Seger said.

Now they can, for the most part.

Included in today’s digital drop are 13 Seger albums, starting with his 1969 debut album “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man” and continuing with 1975’s “Beautiful Loser,” 1976’s “Night Moves,” 1978’s “Stranger in Town,” 1980’s “Against the Wind,” 1982’s “The Distance,” 1986’s “Like a Rock,” and 1991’s “The Fire Inside.” The live albums “Live Bullet” (1976) and “Nine Tonight” (1981) are also included, as are the hits packages “Greatest Hits,” “Greatest Hits 2” and “Ultimate Hits.”

Missing from the package are the sets “Noah,” “Mongrel,” “Brand New Morning,” “Smokin’ O.P.’s,” “Back in ’72” and “Seven,” all released between 1969 and 1974, as well as Seger’s last three studio albums, 1995’s “It’s a Mystery,” 2006’s “Face the Promise” and 2014’s “Ride Out.”

Seger was one of the few significant remaining holdouts from the digital sphere; others whose music is not currently available on streaming services include Tool, Aaliyah and King Crimson. Longtime holdouts such as Led Zeppelin and the Beatles gave in in 2013 and 2016, respectively.

Even Taylor Swift, at one time Spotify’s most vocal opponent, has allowed her music to stream on the service, lifting her ban last week. In 2014, Swift blasted Spotify by saying, “I’m not willing to contribute my life’s work to an experiment that I don’t feel fairly compensates the writers, producers, artists, and creators of this music.” At the time, Spotify had 10 million paying customers; as of March, it had 50 million.

Prior to today, only a few Seger songs were available on Spotify, including Christmas cuts “The Little Drummer Boy” and “Sock it to Me Santa” and the “Beverly Hills Cop II” soundtrack offering “Shakedown.” “Hollywood Nights” was available on Apple Music as part of the “Grand Theft Auto V” soundtrack.

Seger’s catalog and its lack of digital — and, in many cases, physical — availability was the subject of a lengthy NPR piece in March. In it, Andrews argued in favor of keeping Seger’s music off of digital platforms, citing royalty rates so low that “the label would not break it down and show the artist how little he would make.” Seger “has always been an album artist and that format has served him very well,” Andrews said. “Streaming and downloads have always favored singles artists.”

Seger’s team has made strides in recent months to make more of his music available. “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man” and “Greatest Hits” were recently reissued on vinyl, and Jack White’s Third Man Records released Seger’s “2 + 2 = ?” as a 7-inch single for Record Store Day.

Seger is headed out on tour later this year; he kicks off the outing — heavily rumored to be his final trek — Aug. 24 in Toledo and plays Saginaw’s Dow Event Center on Sept. 7, Clarkston’s DTE Energy Music Theatre on Sept. 9 and the Palace of Auburn Hills on Sept. 23.


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