Jason Aldean's new Broken Bow Records single, "Take a Little Ride," bows at No. 19 on the Hot Country Songs list, marking his highest debut on the chart and achieving the best-selling first week for a single by a male country solo act. It has sold 189,000 downloads, according to Nielsen SoundScan, and also debuted at No. 2 on the Hot Digital Songs chart.
The record was previously held by "I Love You This Big," performed by "American Idol" season 10 winner Scotty McCreery. "Big" had sold 171,000 copies in its first week.
The song's success can be attributed to several reasons, but mainly because the music is "right in the wheelhouse of what listeners expect from Aldean," KRTY-FM (95.3) San Jose, Calif., GM Nate Deaton says.
"Reaction is already top 15 in the 'like a lot' category," adds John Shomby, director of programming and operations at WGH-FM Virginia Beach, Va.
"You can never go wrong with a big uptempo song to kick off a record," Aldean says of the song, which is the lead single for his fifth album, due this fall. "It helps create a big buzz around the album, and this song was just perfect for that."
The Country Music Assn. named Aldean's previous release, "My Kinda Party," album of the year in 2011. It has sold 1.6 million units, according to SoundScan, and spawned three chart-topping singles: the Kelly Clarkson duet "Don't You Wanna Stay," "Dirt Road Anthem" and "Fly Over States." Two other hits - the title track and "Tattoos on This Town" - peaked at No. 2.
"Take a Little Ride" got off to a strong start thanks to heavy "world premiere" exposure on Clear Channel, as well as brisk digital sales at iTunes, marking the first time an Aldean single was released simultaneously to iTunes and country radio.
"There was discussion internally between ourselves and management as to, 'Do we make the digital single immediately available or wait a while to build demand?'" Broken Bow Music Group senior VP Jon Loba says. "It was ultimately a fairly easy decision. We thought there will be demand from spin one if we get the exposure and the airplay. Turns out, it was the right call."
Clear Channel's special world premiere treatment also helped provide a strong launch pad for other recent hits, including the Tim McGraw/Kenny Chesney duet "Feel Like a Rock Star," McGraw's "Truck Yeah" and Zac Brown Band's "The Wind." During the promotion, Clear Channel stations air the new single once per hour, every hour, from 6 a.m. to midnight. Aldean recorded liners for Clear Channel to use for promoting the tune. "They do a fantastic job of promoting it across all platforms, from the Web to on-air mentions," Loba says.
Though Clear Channel's promotion has been a key driver, the Broken Bow team is quick to credit other country stations for their support. "If you look at the spins, you can see that it was exposed heavily all across country radio," says Carson James, Broken Bow senior VP of promotion.
The retail success of "Take a Little Ride" further reinforces the ability of country radio to push sales. "This speaks to [the format's power], because there was no TV push here," Loba says of Aldean's hit. "This is a country radio success story that made history."
That story took another turn the morning of July 24, when radio programmers received a note from Broken Bow alerting them that Aldean had changed the song's lyrics to reflect a pending endorsement deal with the Coors Brewing Co. The note asked programmers to replace the version of the song they had been playing with a new version of the record, which swaps out a reference to Shiner Bock beer to "a couple Rocky Tops." The terms of the pending deal were unknown.