Is this another nail in the coffin of downloads? Drake is not new to smashing records and here is one he may not be so proud of, on Friday Nielsen Music reported that Drake’s latest album Scorpion is at the top of the charts for the second week in a row. But only 29,000 copies were sold in the week of July 12th. Nielsen says this is the smallest amount of sales for a top-selling album since the metrics company began tracking music sales in 1991, more than 27 years ago.
The Billboard 200 chart ranks popular albums based on multiple different metrics. these inc traditional sales, streaming, and individual track downloads. These are all combined to rank albums each week according to a complex formula.
Almost all of the album sales have been via digital downloads on services like iTunes and Amazon Music. Retail CD copies of the album weren’t made available until July 13th. Furthermore, Drake’s first week mania has dipped, he also is not immune to the recent trend of failing to sustain the hype of a release for more than 10 days, which is impacting hip hop and R&B releases hard.
Pound-for-pound, CDs are one of the biggest weighting factors for total album sales. But only a handful of CD sales are accounted for in the 29K figure, based partly on the delayed release of the format. Vinyl is continuing its comeback with sales up 19% compared to the previous year.
Despite the poor performance for the album, this isn’t the first time it’s happened in Nielsen history. According to stats rattled off by Billboard, the week of January 28th, 2017, saw top album La La Land hit the top of the charts under 30,000 sales.