(AllHipHop News) Drake received a lot of recognition for joining Eminem, 50 Cent, and Lil Wayne as rappers to push over 1 million units of an album in one week. However, some observers are questioning if the OVO front man’s VIEWS should really be listed as a milli seller.
One writer for Stereogum argues the inclusion of “Hotline Bling” on the tracklist is partly why VIEWS is credited with 1.04 million equivalent album units (the LP totaled 852,000 in actual sales).
According to Michael Nelson, the hit single’s streaming numbers over the last 10 months played a big part in the final first week numbers for Drake’s fourth studio album which has inflated the LP’s status.
The only reason Views “has crossed the 1 million mark in U.S. sales and nearly 1.2 million globally” is because of the final song on the album; a late inclusion called “Hotline Bling.” As you might recall, back in February, the RIAA changed its certification methodology to account for “streaming and download consumption patterns.” Per the RIAA’s new rules, “1,500 on-demand audio and/or video song streams = 10 track sales = 1 album sale.”
Initially, “Hotline Bling” was a loosie for Drake, but because it’s now included on Views, all those old streams are counted toward the album’s sales total.
Forbes recently reported that “Hotline Bling” earned over 400 million Spotify streams worldwide and nearly 700 million plays on YouTube. The publication asserts the addition of the Top 5 single on VIEWS has impacted the album’s RIAA totals.
As the music industry moves from a purchase/download model to focusing more on streaming, the concept of album sales and platinum certifications has changed to reflect the current market. Both the RIAA and Billboard adjusted the method of calculating their respective album awards/charts because of the rise of streaming.
“For a while we’ve recognized that we would need to put streaming in the mix as consumption changed — but we needed to do it carefully. So we started with the easiest one to change, the singles awards,” said RIAA chairman/CEO Cary Shermann about the rule changes. “We watched that and made sure it worked out, and then after about a year, we started on the albums. While looking at how to implement for the album, we went through an elaborate process, getting feedback from the industry, and going through the same data analysis that we did for the single.”
Drake is not the only superstar to benefit from the shifting landscape. Rihanna’s Anti was certified platinum by the RIAA after the album was downloaded for free over 1 million times in January. When The Life Of Pablo took the top spot in April, Kanye West became the first act to land at #1 on the Billboard 200 album chart off mostly streams.
The numbers for Drake’s most recent collection show the Toronto rhymer is still one of the most popular music artists in the world. Besides securing the highest sales week of Drizzy’s career, VIEWS has also been credited for breaking the streaming record with over 245 million streams in its first week of availability.