How has Chance the Rapper’s Apple Music exclusive on his latest mixtape ‘Coloring Book’ turned out? Rather well, actually.
The release debuted at number eight in Billboard’s albums chart on Friday with 38k equivalent album units. Why is this notable? Because that’s entirely driven by streams, on the single streaming service that it was released on.
‘Coloring Book’ did 57.3m streams on Apple Music in its debut week in the US. It’s a notable statistic as a sign of the growth of Apple’s streaming service, and the engagement of its users in this particular exclusive album.
As a comparison of sorts, Dr Dre’s ‘Compton: A Soundtrack’ was streamed 25m times on Apple Music globally in its first week as an Apple Music exclusive last August, although unlike Chance the Rapper’s, that album was also available to buy on iTunes.
We can expect to see more first-week chart positions driven entirely by streaming in the months ahead. One argument against exclusives in this world has been the danger of missing out on chart position, but if Chance the Rapper shows an album can crack Billboard’s top 10 with a single-service exclusive, labels’ fears may be assuaged.
This is also more than a first-week phenomenon though: as Billboard pointed out, Kanye West’s ‘The Life of Pablo’ was at number 20 in its albums chart last week with 21k equivalent album units, but 99.93% of those came from streams.
The industry has talked a lot about how the streaming model rewards artists over a longer time period for listening by their fans, but not so much about the related trend: the key sales window for a lot of albums (no not you, Adele) compressing down even further to a matter of weeks.