Jason Aldean is on track to shake up Billboard's charts next week, as his new single "Take a Little Ride" is selling big and making waves on the radio. Industry sources suggest that it may sell more than 200,000 downloads by July 22.
"Take a Little Ride" is the lead single from his upcoming Broken Bow album, due this fall.
The brisk sales could earn the biggest debut ever for a digital song by a male country artist. It would surpass Scotty McCreery's debut with "I Love You This Big" a little over a year ago when it launched with 171,000.
The only previous country male to sell more than 200,000 downloads in any single week was Toby Keith. His "Red Solo Cup" moved 207,000 in the first full Nielsen SoundScan tracking week after Christcmas last December. ("Red Solo Cup" had debuted two months earlier, eventually building up to its boffo week after Fox TV's "Glee" covered the track on its Dec. 6 episode.)
Alden's previous digital song high came when "Dirt Road Anthem" shifted 189,000 in the week ending June 12, following his performance with Ludacris on the June 9 "CMT Music Awards."
On the Billboard Hot 100, "Take a Little Ride" is poised to debut in the top 20 of the tally. The Hot 100 ranks the most popular songs of the week in the U.S., based on sales, airplay and streaming data. The new Hot 100's top 10 will be released on July 25.
Aldean will also best his own opening-week on the audience-driven Hot Country Songs chart. Aided in large measure by Clear Channel Media & Entertainment's artist integration program, "Take a Little Ride" is expected to arrive somewhere in the top 15 of the 60-position Hot Country Songs radio chart.
As with similarly lofty debuts on Country Songs earlier this year by Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw and Big & Rich, the chain's stations typically play songs about once an hour on Mondays during the tracking weeks when the program is deployed. Those stations then move the tracks into a more normal airplay rotation the rest of the week, which typically causes a second-week decline in aggregated audience impressions before regaining momentum on the national radio audience chart. Aldean's best debut so far was a No. 41 arrival with "My Kinda Party" two summers ago.
Although his company isn't coordinating heavy initial play the way Clear Channel occasionally does, Cox Media's WKHK Richmond, Va., PD Buddy Van Arsdale says he has no doubt "Take a Little Ride" will be a major hit over the long haul. "We love [the] song, and know that it will be a big hit," he says. "He hasn't ever missed before, and this song will be no exception."
Van Arsdale makes an important point: Since Aldean first appeared on Hot Country Songs chart seven years and 15 singles ago, his only song that didn't reach the top 10 was "Relentless," which stopped at No. 15 in 2008. His radio chart history includes seven No. 1s, four top fives and three other top 10s.