DRAKE, GHOST and The Streaming vs. Sales Disparity Between Pop and Metal
Plus first-week sales, Spotify Charts, recent attendance and more
In This Issue:
Drake tops the Billboard 200 for the 11th time this week, thanks to 250 million streams which rolled into 204,000 equivalent album units, of which only 11,000 were traditional album sales (which include paid digital downloads). I take a look at how that compares to some recent hard rock and metal first-weeks.
First-week sales for Whitesnake, Iconic, Skunk Baxter, Ward White, Jorn, Grey Days, Destroy Rebuild Until God Shows, Civil War, Big Wreck, Exorcine, Zombi, and more, plus vinyl action from Pearl Jam, Metallica, and Gerard Way.
Sales updates on dozens of Hard Rock, Metal, and Punk(ish) albums.
Spotify Metal Global Charts, including new entries from I Prevail, Our Last Night, From Ashes To New, Lorna Shore, Nova Twins, Spiritbox, Megadeth, Porcupine Tree, Icon For Hire, Soilwork, and Behemoth.
Attendance in North America, South America, and Europe, including Metallica, Greta Van Fleet; KISS; Megadeth & Lamb Of God, Trivium, In Flames; Muse; Ghost, Uncle Acid, Twin Temple; Sum 41, Simple Plan, Set It Off; Yungblud, Nova Twins; Architects; In Extremo; Bowling For Soup, Lit; Epica; Dream Theater; 311; Suicide Silence & Carnifex, Lorna Shore, Upon A Burning Body; Electric Callboy; White Lies; Amyl And The Sniffers; Stryper; Ace Frehley; Igorr; All That Remains, Miss May I, Varials, Tallah; Gatecreeper; Napalm Death & Pig Destroyer; Okilly Dokilly; Buckcherry, Blacktop Mojo; and Pedro The Lion.1
Drake’s new album is his 11th to top the Billboard 200.
Honestly, Nevermind makes Drake one of only five artists with more than ten No. 1 albums on the Billboard 200 since the chart began in 1956. His 11 chart-toppers put him in a three-way tie with Bruce Springsteen and Barbara Streisand. The other two on the list are The Beatles (with 19) and Jay-Z (14).
Clearly, dude is one of the biggest artists of all time, so comparing the numbers he’s doing against the artists we cover in Stream N’ Destroy doesn’t make much sense. I’m more interested in looking at the percentage of that first-week total made up by streaming vs. album sales, relative to recent rock releases.
When it comes to pop and rap vs. hard rock and metal, the big disparity between traditional album sales (LP, CD, paid digital) and streaming continues. Of the 204k equivalent album units moved by Drake’s new album, 191k of those were streaming equivalent albums, from 250M on-demand streams. Consider how that lines up proportionally against some recent hard rock first-week tallies:
204,000 Equivalent Album Units
11,000 were album sales
MOTIONLESS IN WHITE
Scoring the End of the World
29,500 Equivalent Album Units
23,000 of those were album sales
RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS
97,000 Equivalent Album Units
83,000 of that were album sales
70,000 Equivalent Album Units
62,500 were album sales
ICE NINE KILLS
Welcome to Horrorwood: The Silver Scream 2
25,000 Equivalent Album Units
18,000 were album sales
23,000 Equivalent Album Units
19,000 were album sales
MGK is interesting, given he’s a pop star/rapper making rock-ish music.
MACHINE GUN KELLY
93,000 Equivalent Album Units
42,000 were album sales
Perhaps this explains why Luminate (formerly Nielsen Soundscan) has yet to include equivalent-album units in the Hard Music and Rock Albums charts. As it stands, only the Billboard 200 includes those, while the genre-specific charts do not. Given that most rock and metal albums appear only briefly on the 200, I tend to only see traditional album sales, as that’s what’s on the other charts.
Here’s hoping Luminate will start tracking equivalent album units for rock and metal bands more closely in the not-too-distant future.
Having said that, I think it’s safe to assume that most of the numbers aren’t that different, at least not yet, given these recent examples above.
Time will tell.