Country star Jason Aldean pulled one of the year’s hottest country albums — his latest record, Old Boots, New Dirt — off the music streaming service Spotify because he said he wants songwriters, publishers, producers and engineers to get fairly compensated.
Aldean joined Taylor Swift and other artists who have decided to remove their music from the service, which allows users to stream albums for free. The album has sold more than 467,000 copies since its release on Oct. 7 and hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart. Old Boots, New Dirt also had the biggest first week for a country album on Spotify with more than 3 million streams.
“The debate the whole music industry is having on streaming is complicated,” Aldean said in his first statement, given to The Associated Press, since Spotify removed the album on Monday. “And while I’m definitely paying attention to the business side of things, I am first and foremost an artist. I’m an artist whose career has been built by the songwriters, publishers, producers and engineers that line Music Row in Nashville. What they do has value, and I want everyone who is involved in making my music to be paid fairly. This is about trying to do what is right for the people who have given me a great life.”
Aldean has certainly benefited from digital sales and streams in his career and was recognized this year by the Recording Industry Association of America as the top digital male country artist in history with over 21.5 million in digital single certifications, counting song downloads and on-demand streams. But he’s not completely abandoned Spotify, where his five previous albums are still available.
“I don’t know what the future holds or what my record label will ultimately decide to do with streaming partners, but for now, we made a mutual decision to hold my album back,” he said.