Bob Seger, one of the last great streaming holdouts, has finally allowed his music onto major services. Twelve of his albums, including his most popular titles “Night Moves,” “Stranger in Town,” “Against the Wind,” “Like a Rock” and “Greatest Hits” volumes 1 and 2, are now available on Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, iHeartMedia, Slacker and Napster. Ten of the titles are also available for digital download for the first time.
Neither Seger nor his longtime manager, Punch Andrews, commented on the move or the reason why certain titles were excluded from the services. Some nine albums from Seger’s discography remain unavailable, oddly from the first decade and last two decades of his recording career — including his most recent studio outing (which he has said may be his last), 2014’s “Ride Out.”
However, a source close to the situation tells Variety that the decision was largely due to demand from both fans and the streaming services — some of which apparently said Seger was the No. 1 most in-demand artist not available — and that this is an initial rollout, with more releases to come in the future.
Seger and Andrews have long been opposed to the comparatively low royalty payments from all forms of digital music, and also disapproved of separating songs from albums; until now, the singer had restricted most of his music even from iTunes. Seger also has often cast a disapproving eye on much of his early catalog — at one time describing most of the songs on his “Back in ‘72” album as “bums” — and several of his early albums have been unavailable even on CD for many years. His past physical sales and strong touring earnings — he was named a “Legend of Live” by Billboard in 2015 — have enabled him to spurn the digital domain without much hardship.
Artists whose music remains largely unavailable on streaming services include Peter Gabriel, Thom Yorke’s solo material, King Crimson and Tool (apparently for reasons of principle) and Aaliyah, Def Leppard and De La Soul, for complicated legal reasons.
The following Seger titles are now available to stream and for digital downloads: “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man” (1969), “Beautiful Loser” (1975), “Live Bullet” (1976), “Night Moves” (1976), “Stranger in Town” (1978), “Against the Wind” (1980), “Nine Tonight” (1981), “The Distance,” (1982), “Like a Rock” (1986), “The Fire Inside” (1991), “Greatest Hits” (1994), “Greatest Hits 2” (2003), “Ultimate Hits” (2011).
Until now, just two of his songs were available on streaming services — Christmas songs featured on compilations.
Earlier this month, Seger announced he and his Silver Bullet Band will embark on a North American Runaway Train Tour starting in August. The tour was announced June 1, on the heels of his Pine Knob Music Theatre show in Detroit selling out in 9 minutes during the fan club pre-sale. Special guest Nancy Wilson of Heart will appear on select dates.
Last month, Seger’s “Greatest Hits” received the RIAA’s Diamond Award commemorating sales of 10 million units. Seger is an inductee of both the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. According to a release, he has sold over 53 million albums and has earned 13 platinum and 7 multi-platinum RIAA Certified sales awards.