The Life of Pablo, Kanye West’s new album, had a bit of an unorthodox release. There were delays and constant name changes before the singer decided on this moniker and released it as a Tidal exclusive. It now holds an unorthodox record. This is the first album to top the Billboard charts even though it derives the bulk of its sales from streaming.
Billboard reports that in the week ending April 7th The Life of Pablo earned 94,000 equivalent album units, this was enough to overtake Chris Stapleton’s Traveller for the number one spot on the charts.
66,000 of the 94,000 units, that’s over 70 percent, are accounted for by streaming services like Apple Music and Spotify with the rest of the sales coming from Kanye’s website and Tidal.
It merits mentioning here that The Life of Pablo was initially released as a Tidal exclusive. West had even said that his album would never be sold through iTunes but eventually tracks from the new album started appearing on competing streaming services, and now his album is available in its entirely on both Spotify and Apple Music.
Since The Life of Pablo is still not available via traditional digital retailers like iTunes or through retail stores, the 94,000 units don’t account for sales through these mediums. It may not be long before it does become available through these mediums as well since the album has already arrived on Tidal’s rival streaming services despite Kanye saying that it won’t.