Brooks still to record for Liberty

Country singer Garth Brooks has signed a new recording contract with Liberty Records, ending months of speculation on whether he would retire or record for another label.

Representatives for Brooks were extremely tight-lipped about the deal, but outgoing Capitol/EMI president Joe Smith yesterday confirmed the signing.

Sources close to the negotiations said the new deal will be geared toward an incentive program for Brooks and is structured differently from the artist’s previous four-year pact with Liberty.

According to sources, per-album royalty rates will be increased, as well as label contributions to promotion and marketing.

“Both the label and Garth will have a real incentive to work hard,” said one source. “If (Brooks) does as well as he has, he will surely make a lot of money. The label should also do well.”

As a rewardfor working hard on the new contract, Brooks presented new Jaguar automobiles to his Nashville-based attorney, Rusty Jones, as well as his managers, Pam Lewis and Bob Doyle, and business manager Kerry O’Neill.

Liberty Records president Jimmy Bowen was in Hawaii and could not be reached for comment. Jones was unavailable to comment. Liberty Records publicist Kathy Gurley declined comment. Lewis cited her recent signing of a confidentiality agreement and therefore could not comment.

Brooks, who began an eight-month break Dec. 12 (Daily Variety, Oct. 5, 1991), will be performing two concerts in L.A. on Jan. 29, benefiting a South Central L.A. youth service group. He also will perform the national anthem at the Super Bowl on Jan. 31.

Brooks is scheduled to begin work on a new album, prepare for a fall tour and , in a departure for the singer, will film a video for the recent single off his latest Liberty disc, “The Chase.” Brooks stopped making videos after many outlets refused to program his “The Thunder Rolls” two years ago because of its violent content.

While “The Chase” still rides the top spot on Billboard’s country albums chart, it has fallen from the No. 1 position on the Top 200.

Brooks is still smarting over radio’s lack of response to the disc’s first single, “We Shall Be Free.” Many programmers refused to play the cut, citing format concerns. Brooks has prepared a video short of the song for use by the NFL during Super Bowl festivities.

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