Drake continuing to be the “Controlla” of the airwaves! He’s now beating out the queen Adele on sales this year!
If you want to paint a picture of the ever-shifting music landscape, look no further than Views.
Drake’s latest is the top-selling album of 2016 so far with 2.6 million equivalent album units sold since April, according to Nielsen Music’s mid-year report. The colossal haul reflects a tracking metric adopted by the Billboard 200 albums chart in 2014, which counts 1,500 song streams as one album sale and 10 digital track sales as a single album sold. Viewsaccumulated 1.5 billion streams, 3.2 million song downloads and 1.3 million traditional album sales.
That most people are choosing to stream Views — in a year where digital album and song sales are down 18% and 24%, respectively — shows that streaming platforms such as Apple Music, Spotify and Tidal are fast becoming the go-to methods for music consumption.
“The growth of (streaming) is exploding,” says David Bakula, Nielsen Entertainment’s senior vice president of analytics. With Drake, “it’s one of those things where you’ve got the right artist, the right fan base that is very active on streaming platforms and the right partner in Apple (Music),” which premiered Views exclusively on its service. He “continues to grow in popularity, so you have an artist at the peak of his game.”
But how impressive is Drake’s reign? When it comes to pure albums (both physical and digital), Adele actually tops mid-year sales with last year’s 25, which sold 1.4 million copies between Jan. 1 and June 30, 2016, and only hit streaming services in mid-June. And although Drake’s One Dance is the year’s most “consumed” digital song when you factor in its 286.4 million streams, Flo Rida’s My House easily bests it in sales (1.9 million downloads vs. Dance‘s 1.4 million).
Overall, total album sales dropped 14% from the first six months of last year (100.3 million), while digital song sales plunged 24% (404.3 million). The latter is partly due to the fact that one song hasn’t captured the zeitgeist quite like Mark Ronson andBruno Mars’ Uptown Funk!, which amassed 4.9 million downloads in the first half of 2015 alone. “We’re not even in the ball park of coming up against that,” Bakula says. “Unless you get a song that goes viral and is used everywhere, we’re going to have a very tough time coming back in digital tracks.”
But there are still some bright spots among the buying masses: Vinyl sales rose 3% to make up 12% of all physical music business, led by David Bowie’s Blackstar(57,000 copies sold). And while Taylor Swift’s 1989 was the only album to sell at least 1 million copies in the first half of 2015, 2016 has already laid claim to three platinum sellers (25, Views and Beyoncé’s Lemonade, which has sold 1.2 million physical and digital copies since April).