Kanye West’s ‘The Life Of Pablo’ Racked Up An Astronomical Amount Of Tidal Streams

Carl Williott | March 29, 2016 12:38 pm

Kanye West‘s seventh album, The Life Of Pablo, underwent one of the more vexing releases of all time. It was updated after its initial release, it’s only available to stream on Tidal and no physical edition is planned. The first week of its release, Tidal didn’t share streaming numbers so it didn’t place on the Billboard 200. But now the service has released the TLOP stats, and they are kind of staggering.

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On the eve of the one-year anniversary of the star-studded launch event, Jay Z‘s streaming service announced they’ve eclipsed 3 million worldwide subscribers and revealed that Pablo was streamed 250 million times in its first 10 days on the service. Streaming numbers are still a bit of a shell game, but without getting into the whole album equivalent unit thing, here are some figures to help put that Pablo stat in perspective: Spotify’s most-streamed song of 2015 garnered 540 million streams over the entire year. West’s whole album nearly halved that in a little over a week on Tidal. Compare that with Rihanna‘s ANTI, which notched a meager 4.2 million streams in its (shortened) first week, according to Nielsen.

There are a couple big takeaways from all this. 1) Tidal is still lagging way behind Apple (11 million paid users) and Spotify (30 million), but their artist exclusivity model can work, at least when it involves a once-in-a-generation megastar and a rollout that isn’t completely botched. 2) Kanye’s latest may not have impacted the charts but in addition to the 250M Tidal streams, it sold out Madison Square Garden in a matter of minutes, that MSG event was streamed by some 20 million people and the LP release allegedly spurred 1.5 million new Tidal subscriptions. Add in reports of half a million pirated Pablo downloads in the first 24 hours, and it’s clear there’s still enough demand for Kanye’s music that he has A-list commercial pull.

The question is whether he’ll keep throwing all that weight behind Tidal.

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