Canadian rapper Drake has had a good year so far, and is now being referred to as the most popular entertainer in the world. This is no small accomplishment, and alone would be reason for the 31-year-old musician, songwriter and entrepreneur to be proud. But in releasing his latest album, titled Scorpion, Drake has managed to make world history in a truly profound way.
Upon Scorpion being released online, digital streams of the music tipped over into the 1 billion range within a single week. A truly staggering number that almost defies belief. But the numbers have been confirmed, making Drake the first musician to have ever achieved this milestone. The event says a great deal about not only the music industry as a whole, but also the evolution of music in an age that is becoming increasingly digitised.
The previous record of this type was held by Post Malone, an American rapper who managed to achieve an equally impressive number. Aged just 23, Post Malone released his album titled Beerbongs and Bentleys. It was streamed around 700 million times in its first week, which is no small feat in itself. Scorpion just took it that one step further and smashed that record by reaching the 1 billion mark in the same time period.
Interestingly, Scorpion managed the 700 million mark when taking into account streams in the United States alone, excluding the rest of the world. This, no doubt, makes clear where the majority of fans can be found for the Canadian rapper. In terms of United States streams, Malone managed 431 million in the first week. Both musicians performed impressively, but it is no doubt Drake who has come out on top, setting a new benchmark for digital music the world over.
What Does This Mean For Music?
There is no doubt that the world is leaning ever more into a digital era. Websites like Netflix have proved that on-demand visual entertainment is not only possible, but also highly popular, and online casino Canada sites are enjoying ever-increasing numbers, as increasingly more players swap over to playing on the web.
So, the obvious question; is the digital world going to take over? Are cinemas, and physical copies of music doomed to fade into history?
Interestingly, this does not seem to be the case, when looking at one report. Although the 1 billion streams in a week statistic sounds very impressive, and is, those streams do not necessarily equal album sales. In fact, a recent report from the Recording Industry Association of America shocked the world by announcing that, in 2017, physical music sales were more than digital music sales. A fact that flies in the face of popular perception. The report stated that in 2017, digital music sales dropped by 25%, to around $1.3 billion. Physical music sales, on the other hand, sat at $1.5 billion.
But is this all it seems to be?
Streaming Is The Future
The reality is that this statistic is not taking into account the new, dominant trend; streaming.
Digital music sales likely dropped by such a significant margin due to the on-demand business model of digital streaming services. In racking up 1 billion streams in a week, Drake did not sell 1 billion albums, but would have earned his revenue via paid subscription streaming services.
In other words, album sales are not taken into account in this case, but significant revenue is still earned for the musician for each stream achieved. It is still notable that so much revenue was earned via physical album sales in 2017, but there is no doubt that the bias will lean more and more towards the digital world in the coming years.