Jason Isbell Worries That Digital-Only Releases Will Hurt Indie Record Stores

In early February, beloved country/folk songwriter Jason Isbell announced a brand new album called Reunions is coming from him and his band, The 400 Unit, with the lead single “Be Afraid.” The first follow-up to their 2017 album, the Grammy-winning The Nashville Sound, the record is slated to come out this May. And just a few weeks ago, the band shared another new track, “What I’ve Done To Help,” which is a song about realizing that simply protecting your own interests while the world is struggling can’t be the right move.

In that same vein, Isbell shared his feelings today that putting out an album during the Coronavirus quarantine doesn’t seem like the best move to him, because indie record stores are already struggling. If the quarantine and social distancing measures are still in place when the album drops in May, fans won’t be able to go buy the album at these independent stores, and will only be able to purchase or stream it online. “I know we all need distractions, but indie record stores were already struggling before all this,” he wrote on Twitter today. “I don’t want to release an album online right now and add to their troubles. Those stores are very important.”

It’s a really good point. There’s no word yet on how long the quarantine measures will last, but if you’re able to support small businesses and local music stores during this time, consider getting a gift card to use later?