The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) announced that fans of country singer Jason Aldean have downloaded over 21.5 million of his certified digital songs or on-demand streams. That makes him “the top digital male in country music history.” That’s impressive. So is his influence in the media.
In February 2014, Aldean was able to censor a scathing review that was published in the Baltimore City Paper. The City Paper‘s music reporter, Travis Kitchens, attended an Aldean concert and wrote that it was “a lot like watching a two hour beer commercial,” among other things. It was a takedown piece from the beginning–with hardly a sniff at objectivity. And Kitchens’ pan didn’t go unnoticed by Aldean and his corporate sponsors. LiveNationDC (who promoted the concert) and Under Armour (who makes a Duck Commander product that Aldean endorses) both threatened never to advertise in City Paper again if the paper didn’t fix the problem. Guess what? The article was removed from the website. Lost on all was the fact that many people really like beer commercials.