Scorpion king: Drake album debuts at No.1 with huge streaming total

Scorpion king: Drake album debuts at No.1 with huge streaming total

Drake has been breaking streaming records across platforms with his new album Scorpion. On the UK Albums Chart, the Canadian superstar hasn’t quite managed to best Ed Sheeran’s streaming performance for ÷ last year – but the numbers are still pretty spectacular.

Scorpion (Island) topped the chart on opening sales of 63,690, according to the Official Charts Company. Without a physical release until July 13, streaming dominated that total with 49,715 equivalent sales (78.1%). Even without the contribution of downloads, Drake would still have beaten Florence + The Machine’s High As Hope (40,304 sales) to No.1.

In the Singles Chart, Drake has three tracks in the Top 5, including Don’t Matter To Me (Ft Michael Jackson) at No.2 on sales of 61,432. It follows chart-topping singles God's Plan and Nice For What.

Drake’s chart success coincides with new OCC rules coming into effect that vary the contribution from paid and free streams, as well as including data from video consumption on platforms such as YouTube. While the lack of a video for Don’t Matter To Me didn’t help Drake’s effort to overhaul George Ezra, in the end it wasn’t the deciding factor in this week’s No.1. While Drizzy was ahead on audio streams (6,382,049 to 5,795,975), 18,132 downloads for Shotgun meant Ezra’s summery tune easily outgunned the Canadian rapper’s Jackson collaboration (3,509 downloads). 

The download sales (13,975) for the Scorpion album were substantial, which meant Drake’s proportion of ‘sales’ from streaming on week one was actually slightly lower than Post Malone. Beerbongs & Bentleys had a physical release, but a massive 81.6% of consumption for the sophomore album was from streams when it debuted at No.1 for Island in April.

Despite the huge tally for Drake, the streaming figures still lag behind Ed Sheeran’s record-breaking first week (78,944) and even his second week (58,280) for ÷ in 2017. But the strong support of DSPs, including a Spotify takeover, did at least mean that Scorpion just beat the opening sales for last year’s More Life mixtape (62,690, including 36,411 from streams). Sheeran, of course, held off More Life from No.1.

Drake’s 2016 album Views debuted on bigger sales of 78,397, though streaming was not yet as dominant for hip-hop artists as it is now. The week one streaming total for Views was 12,232 – the highest for a No.1 LP at that point but a proportion (just 15.6%) that shows just how much the streaming market has grown in the two years. 

The streaming growth for week one sales for each release also tells the story of the industry’s format transition since 2016. More Life was up 197.7% on Views, while Scorpion’s tally represented a 36.5% increase on More Life.

The OCC’s three-track cap on primary artists in the Singles Chart means it’s now impossible for a repeat of the sort of chart takeover achieved by Ed Sheeran last year and Drake in 2016. Without that limit in place, all 25 tracks from Scorpion would have made the Top 75. 

Maroon 5’s Girls Like You Ft Cardi B was the most streamed video of the week with 2.67m views. The track is the first obvious beneficiary of the OCC’s inclusion of video as it moves 13-10.

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