Numbers on the Board: How’s Drake’s Streaming Success Is a Lesson in the New Music Business Model

Ross Gilmore/Getty Images Drake performs at The SSE Hydro on March 23, 2017 in Glasgow, United Kingdom.

It’s been nearly a decade since Drake flipped a mixtape into a retail project with 2009’s So Far Gone. At the time the move felt divisive, as the freebie version appeared to be the litmus test to see if a Canadian teen drama star could transform into a global rap sensation. A string of sold out American show dates, coupled with a Young Money badge, sealed Drake’s fate, and from that point on he remained a chart-topping beast.

Fast forward to 2018. In one day Drake’s newest track “God’s Plan” (off his latest EP Scary Hours) broke a single-day streaming record for both Apple Music and Spotify, upstaging Taylor Swift’s “Look What You Made Me Do” — with “God’s Plan” raking in 14 million streams in the first day on Apple Music alone (82.4 million total U.S. streams in the first week). The move came following a seemingly long, drawn-out investigation as to why Drake didn’t submit his 2017 project More Life for Grammy consideration. We would later find out that despite the noticeable uptick in hip-hop nominations for the Recording Academy Awards, the winners would be slim. Did the 6 God see this coming, ahead of all of us?

For years now, Drake has gone against the grain, yet leaves with the most bread. In 2012, he broke a Billboard record for the most number-one singles on the rap charts (11 total), bumping Diddy from his throne. In 2015, he would reign as Spotify’s most streamed artist of the year. A year later, Views would not only nudge Eminem’s Recovery off its six-year run as having the most weeks at No. 1 on the Sales Plus Streaming (SPS) chart, but also beat Beyoncé’s Lemonade as the most streamed album of 2016.

Continue @ Billboard