Jason Aldean Explains Decision to Pull New Album From Spotify
Spotify offers consumers the choice to stream free music with commercials, or pay five or ten dollars per month to avoid commercials and access special features. The service pays out between 0.006 cents and 0.0084 cents in royalties for each stream, which critics have criticized as far too low.
Aldean removed ‘Old Boots, New Dirt’ from the digital streaming service on Monday, following the lead of Taylor Swift, who pulled her entire recorded catalog after citing concerns about the payment structure. Aldean's album set a new record for best-ever debut week for a country album with more than 3.04 million streams. The album also sold well, opening at No. 1 despite being available for streaming, but in a statement to the Associated Press, Aldean says he's just trying to figure out the best way forward for everyone involved.
"The debate the whole music industry is having on streaming is complicated," he states. "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."
Physical sales and paid downloads of music have continued to fall this year, while subscription streaming services like Spotify have grown more than 50 percent. Spotify argues that as more people become paid subscribers, the revenue from paid streams will balance out the revenue lost from actual sales and downloads.
Jon Loba, executive vice president of Aldaen’s label, BBR Music Group, points out that a new album's greatest sales are in the period following its immediate release, and says streaming revenue in that initial hot period doesn't come close to making up for potential lost sales.
“There is a premium for ‘brand new’ -- movies, cars, clothes, everything else,” he says. “Why we devalue music, I don’t know. I understand five years down the road -- potentially -- there will be enough streaming revenue to balance it out. In the meantime, how much revenue are we giving away?”
It's a debate that other artists are weighing in on as well. Brantley Gilbert and Justin Moore have both just pulled their latest releases from Spotify, and Garth Brooks isn't offering any of his music anywhere online except for his website and GhostTunes, his own newly-launched digital service.
Aldean is biding his time for now, pulling only his newest offering. His other albums are still available for streaming.
"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 states.
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