Independent musician Chance the Rapper has been making waves in the music world for some time now, famously choosing not to charge for his album-quality mixtapes, and refusing to sign a major label deal, despite being heavily courted.
The Chicago rapper is one of the only independent musicians to gain access to stages like Saturday Night Live and The Late Show, and with the release of his latest mixtape Coloring Book on Apple Music, he has added a new notch to his belt: He’s the first artist in history to break the Billboard Top 10 Albums chart with streaming plays alone.
The album made No. 8 on Billboard’s weekly list, with the equivalent of 38,000 sales from over 57 million streams. Billboard equates 1,500 streams to a single album sale.
Coloring Book is still an Apple Music exclusive until May 27, after which it will likely hit other streaming services and be available for free download on popular mixtape release site Dat Piff, where it was briefly available for free download after the mixtape was first released. Besides the short time it was on Dat Piff, the album has yet to be available officially anywhere except Apple’s streaming service.
Streaming plays will likely continue to become more important on the charts, as many blockbuster records are being released exclusively on various streaming services before physical and digital download copies are made available.
In fact, streaming had a significant impact on the way Kanye Wests’ The Life of Pablo charted earlier this year, with bolstered numbers coming from his decision to remove the albums’ exclusive-to-Tidal status.
Even though high-profile records like Drake’s Views continue to best Coloring Book on the charts, as the first streaming-only album to hit the top tier of Billboard’s list, the mixtape marks a serious industry milestone.