Streaming Powers Kanye West’s The Life Of Pablo To Historic No.1 Debut

70% of the album’s sales were attributed to streaming.

April 11, 2016

Billboard reports that listeners scooped up the equivalent of 94,000 copies of The Life Of Pablo last week, enough to push the album to a No. 1 debut on the Billboard 200. It’s Kanye’s seventh No. 1 album.


Though 28,000 of the 94,000 in sales were downloads, The Life Of Pablo is the first album to debut at No. 1 with a majority of sales coming through streaming services. Rihanna’s ANTI previously held the record for streaming as percent of sales—slightly more than 30% of ANTI’s first week numbers stemmed from streaming.

In terms of raw streams, Justin Bieber’s Purpose still holds the record for an album debuting at No. 1. Beliebers were responsible for buying 67,000 streaming equivalent albums, narrowly eclipsing the 66,000 for The Life Of Pablo. Adele would presumably have been competitive in this category as well, but she did not make her album available on streaming services.

When it appeared that Kanye was about to make a historical debut at the end of last week, he responded to the news on Twitter. “Thank you to everybody who made The Life of Pablo the number 1 album in the world,” he wrote. “I’m so happy that you guys like the music… I’m working on the tour designs now… I also wanted to point out that it’s the first album to go number 1 off of streaming!!!”

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Streaming Powers Kanye West’s The Life Of Pablo To Historic No.1 Debut