"The debate the whole music industry is having on streaming is complicated," he said in a statement given to The Associated Press. "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."
Released on October 7th, Old Boots, New Dirt racked up more than three million Spotify streams during its first week, setting an all-time record for a country album's debut. Earlier that summer, Aldean was also named the top-selling digital male country artist in history, racking up more than 20 million song downloads and on-demand streams before Old Boots was even available. That means Spotify just lost an important album by one of its most popular artists — although Aldean has yet to pull his first five records from the streaming service.
"I don't know what the future holds or what my record label will ultimately decide to do with streaming partners," he added, "but for now, we made a mutual decision to hold my album back."
Earlier this week, Aldean also announced "Just Gettin' Started" as the follow-up single to Old Boots' platinum-selling "Burnin' it Down." Driven forward by electric guitars that owe more to hard rock than honky-tonk, "Just Gettin' Started" returns Aldean to the territory he's always occupied, a place where distortion pedals and Peavey guitar amps run the show.
"When we released the lead single from this album, I think everybody was scratching their heads a little bit and wondering what the rest of the songs would sound like," Aldean wrote on his website, where he announced the single's release on Veteran's Day. "This is a great follow-up to ‘Burnin’ It Down’ because it’s probably more familiar to those fans who love that bigger rock guitar sound we do a lot."