Drake‘s album Views continues to push boundaries and break records, now apparently reaching an astronomical half a billion streams. The album is now sitting at the top spot on the Billboard albums chart for the third week in a row, and in the past week alone, has been streamed more than 186 million times. This, according to HipHopDX, brings the total streaming number to 572 million.
While the release was an Apple Music exclusive for the first fortnight since coming out on April 29, it is now available on Spotify and elsehwere, hence the additional boost in numbers.
It should be pointed out that this number is still contentious and somewhat confusing. Hotline Bling almost single-handedly pushed the album to immediate platinum status, as its inclusion as a “bonus track” allowed the viral single’s astronomical streaming numbers to be retrospectively tacked on to the album, which also features recent smash hit Pop Style. This is also an example of how the new streaming equivalents (ie, 1500 song streams equals one album purchase according to the RIAA) are confusing. For example, one or two singles could be streamed 200 million times across chart countdowns, radio channels, playlists and more, with the rest of the album left in the lurch, yet this still equates to a full album stream.
This is not to devalue Drake’s popularity or talent in any way, by the way – he’s a great rapper and an exceedingly popular figure within the entertainment industry and general cultural lexicon. That said, I cannot help but question specifically where these numbers are coming from, how they’re being counted, and whether a broken down track to by track analysis would show us anything different.
The reason I find this particularly insane is that these numbers are coming in despite the widely-accepted fact that Views is not actually an especially great album. Read our feature article here about how Drake’s cult celebrity status has become so powerful that it’s overshadowed the music itself. SO more than anything else, I find these numbers to be a remarkable example of how charts and streaming numbers have absolutely nothing to do with how amazing the music actually is. Unless of course, you’re Kendrick Lamar.