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    Jason Aldean “Try That In A Small Town” Streams Up After Controversy – The Hollywood Reporter

    Jason Aldean’s controversial song “Try That In a Small Town” is pulling in big numbers.

    Luminate, which tracks music sales and streams, says the song’s on-demand audio and video streams have increased by 999 percent — from 987,000 to 11.7 million — in the week after the chatter about the song exploded online.

    Sales for the song are up as well: For the week before the controversy, the track only sold 1,000; last week it sold 228,000, according to Luminate.

    CMT pulled the song’s music video from its rotation from its lineup last Tuesday, when the music video only had roughly 350,000 views on YouTube. Now, it’s been viewed 16.6 million times.

    Aldean released “Try That in a Small Town” in May but its accompanying music video was released on July 14. The clip features the burning of the American flag, protests, looting and more, and some have criticized it for promoting gun violence and taking aim at the Black Lives Matter movement.

    In the video, Aldean performs in front of the Maury County Courthouse in Columbia, Tennessee — the site of the 1946 Columbia race riot and the 1927 mob lynching of Henry Choate, an 18-year-old Black teenager.

    Aldean didn’t write the song, but it features the lyrics: “Cuss out a cop, spit in his face / Stomp on the flag and light it up / Yeah, ya think you’re tough / Well, try that in a small town / See how far ya make it down the road.” Aldean later sings on the song, “Got a gun that my granddad gave me / They say one day they’re gonna round up / Well, that shit might fly in the city, good luck.”

    Responses to the song have been split; Sheryl Crow, Jason Isbell and Margo Price have criticized the track and video, while Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis, Blanco Brown, Cody Johnson and Brantley Gilbert have voiced their support for Aldean.

    Aldean, one of country music’s top stars, defended the song in a lengthy statement, calling claims made against the track “not only meritless, but dangerous.” The singer also defended the song during a concert this weekend in Cincinnati, where he performed the song and received cheers from the audience as well as chants of “U.S.A.”

    “In the past 24 hours I have been accused of releasing a pro-lynching song … and was subject to the comparison that I (direct quote) was not too pleased with the nationwide BLM protests. These references are not only meritless, but dangerous,” he wrote. “There is not a single lyric in the song that references race or points to it — and there isn’t a single video clip that isn’t real news footage — and while I can try and respect others to have their own interpretation of a song with music — this one goes too far.”

    On social media, some users were offended by the lyrics, especially since Aldean was performing onstage at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival in Las Vegas in 2017 when a shooter opened fire and killed 60 concertgoers and injured hundreds more. In his tweet, the Grammy-nominated star referenced the tragedy: “NO ONE, including me, wants to continue to see senseless headlines or families ripped apart.”

    During his weekend concert, Aldean addressed “cancel culture” when speaking to his audience.

    “Cancel culture is a thing … which means try and ruin your life, ruin everything,” he was quoted as saying. “One thing I saw this week was a bunch of country music fans that could see through a lot of the bullshit, all right? I saw country music fans rally like I’ve never seen before and it was pretty badass to watch, I gotta say.”

    Luminate, the new name for the collection of data brands formerly known as Nielsen/MRC Data and Variety Business Intelligence, is owned by Penske Media Eldridge, the joint venture between Eldridge Industries and Penske Media Corporation that also owns The Hollywood Reporter.

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