New York (AFP)

US heartland rocker Bob Seger on Friday made most of his music available for streaming as the number of artists who boycott the booming format keeps shrinking.

The 72-year-old singer and guitarist -- whose decades of hits include "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man," "Old Time Rock and Roll" and "Night Moves" -- has been hesitant on technology and also did not sell most of his music for digital download on iTunes.

But Seger on Friday put 12 of his albums, including some of his most prominent, on Spotify and other streaming sites as well as iTunes.

A statement by the artist said the move "offers one of the most sought-after catalogs for digital music distribution, uniting Seger fans around the world," without explaining his decision further.

Seger previously has explained that he does not listen to music online but described his absence as the result of commercial disputes rather than ideology.

His move comes one week after pop superstar Taylor Swift -- the most prominent critic of Spotify, which she had accused of short-changing artists -- put her whole catalog on all streaming services.

Few major Western artists still refuse to stream. The Beatles, the most prominent holdout, changed course in December 2015.

Music artists maintaining total or near total boycotts of streaming include English progressive rock pioneers King Crimson, experimental metal group Tool and indie folk singer Joanna Newsom.

Streaming sites led by Spotify have witnessed soaring growth in subscriptions, leading the global recorded music industry to post healthy growth for the past two years after a long slump.

Agence France-Presse

AFP journalists cover wars, conflicts, politics, science, health, the environment, technology, fashion, entertainment, the offbeat, sports and a whole lot more in text, photographs, video, graphics and online.

© 2017 AFP