More than 3 million Spotify users streamed Jason Aldean’s Old Boots, New Dirt during its first week of release, setting a record for the best-ever debut for a country album. Now, more than one month after its October 7th release, the album is being yanked from Spotify’s catalog.
It’s the second big blow dealt by Nashville’s music community to Spotify this month, arriving days after Taylor Swift’s decision to remove her entire discography from the popular streaming service. Swift’s move has been a controversial one, blasted in some circles as a short-sighted attempt to change the habits of the music-buying public and praised in others as a bold, well-deserved stand against the big, bad boys of the (free) streaming world. Meanwhile, Aldean — whose five previous albums are still available on Spotify — is keeping his mouth shut, refusing to explain his reasoning behind Old Boots‘ removal. Given the recent scrutiny of comments made by Swift and her Big Machine label boss, Scott Borchetta, Aldean’s silence is probably the smartest PR move he could’ve made.
Will it help drive up sales, though? That’s debatable. When Swift’s newest album, 1989, hit stores in late October, the only way to hear it (legally) was by purchasing the actual record. 1989 wound up selling 1,287,000 copies during its first week, the best debut of any album of any genre since 2002. On the other hand, Aldean’s Old Boots, New Dirt has already been available on free streaming services for more than a month, meaning a sudden emphasis on paid outlets (including premium streaming services like Rhapsody and Beats Music) is less likely to boost sales.
Meanwhile, both Aldean and Swift are gearing up for extensive touring — which remains one of the best ways for A-list artists to promote their new releases — in 2015, with Aldean’s headlining trek kicking off on February 12th in Greenville, South Carolina, and Swift’s 1989 World Tour opening in Tokyo, Japan, on May 5th.