Drake’s record-breaking week proves exclusive streaming belongs to the big dogs

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In just five days, Drake’s latest record, Views, has already crushed the records set by Beyoncé’s recent album Lemonade, according to Music Business Worldwide. Lemonade garnered 115 million plays in its first week on Tidal, and was the subject of arguably the most internet buzz since Adele’s 25 hit stores last fall.

But Views, which came out April 29 as an Apple Music exclusive, had 191 million plays by the following Tuesday. The biggest difference between the two releases? The services they each chose to exclusively stream through.

Both albums are by top artists, both albums were released to massive critical buzz, and both albums were put up for sale on iTunes to supplement their streaming exclusivity. But some estimates have Views doubling Bey’s two-week-old streaming record by week’s end.

It’s not that hard to fathom why Drake’s new album got so many more plays. Apple Music has roughly three times the subscriber base of Jay-Z’s Tidal, so even if the album was less popular with the overall subscriber base of Apple Music, there were still more ears who could hear it.

If the difference in plays proves one thing, its that big-name artists should stick to streaming services with bigger subscriber numbers if they wish to get more plays and set more records. Especially when they can likely negotiate larger pay per play, the centerpiece of Tidal’s pro-artist business model — or, like Drake, negotiate a massive upfront payment to stay exclusive over the long term.

In addition to his massive streaming victory, iTunes sales of Views are predicted to hit 900,000 in this week alone, a number which should see a $12.5 million check in the mail to Canada’s biggest hip-hop star.

Both Drake and Beyoncé will soon be in the midst of massive summer tours, as Drake teams up with Future and Bey continues her recently extended Formation Tour. Interestingly, Beyoncé made the better business decision on this one; Drake’s decision to tour with a fellow moneymaker in Future should lad to something of a pay cut for each musician, as they have to split ticket sales in some way or another.

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