Fill a golden chalice and stare furtively at the table: Drake is again the king of streaming.
Toronto’s favorite son has smashed streaming records with the debut of his new double-album Scorpion. According to Billboard, Scorpion garnered 745.9 million streams in its first week of release in the U.S., demolishing Post Malone’s record of 431.3 million streams for beerbongs & bentleys (which broke the previous streaming record set by — you guessed it — Drake). More impressively, Scorpion is the first album to get a billion streams globally in a week.
Even with streaming numbers now regularly creeping into 10-figures on services like YouTube and Spotify, this is still an amazing achievement, and one that speaks to Drake’s (carefully calculated) international appeal. On the day of its release, Spotify tweeted that the album was being streamed 10 million times per hour, while Apple Music reps told Pitchfork the album received over 170 million streams on its first day.
These numbers are further evidence of what we’ve long known: Drake is in the highest tier of pop stars (a fact which scores him a clever punchline on Scorpion). Still, it will be interesting to see how the record holds up in the coming weeks. The album’s latest single “I’m Upset” has been correctly referred to as one of Drake’s worst songs and although “God’s Plan” and “Nice For What” have been massive hits (again, rightly), they peaked ahead of the album’s release. Outside of the underwhelming Michael Jackson collabo “Don’t Matter To Me,” there aren’t really any other obvious singles, which is somewhat remarkable for a 25-track album.
Even worse, Drake’s credibility has taken a serious hit upon confirmation that he was indeed hiding a child from the world. It would be easier to swallow Drake’s excuse that he was actually “hiding the world from his kid” if he didn’t sound alternately defensive and meek about fatherhood on the execrable “March 14.” Part of the intense curiosity upon the album’s release was how Drizzy would respond to Pusha T’s devastating “The Story of Adidon” and although Drake clearly thinks his best route is the high road (“As luck would have it, I’ve settled into my role as the good guy”), his lack of passion makes him come off as weak and apathetic in the face of explosive accusations (as rap disses go, secret paternity test results sets a new bar).
Still, this is speculative chatter in the margins of an undeniable accomplishment. Even if Drake has finally reached the summit of his success, a billion clicks in a week is a hell of a peak.