Apple has not been doing so well the last few weeks, but the story is not the same for iTunes and its subscription streaming service Apple Music. Hip-hop star Drake sold more than a million copies of his new album Views in just five days of its availability on Apple’s iTunes download store and Apple’s Music streaming service.
Why was Drake’s album so popular?
In this age of rapid streaming growth and falling sales of downloads and CDs, this is a rare achievement. Drake was able to achieve such a feat because he marketed the album on Apple’s streaming service, said Larry Jackson, Apple’s head of content.
Drake hosted 20 episodes of his radio show OVO Sound on Apple’s free Beats 1 radio system. He also used the service to announce the release details of his album and debuted several songs, including his hit “Hotline Bling.” Also the iPhone maker ran TV ads for the album during the NBA playoffs and advertised the album on the iTunes home page. In the first 24 hours, the album sold 632,000 copies.
Another reason for the large sale of the album was Vivendi SA’s Universal Music Group, the parent company of Drake’s record label. The company reportedly employs dozens of staff members to keep “Views” videos off sites such as YouTube where people upload videos without permission.
Very popular on Apple Music
Apple Music users streamed the album more than 250 million times globally and 200 million times in the U.S. This suggests that the streaming service was able to get a lot of customers to sign up for free trials of its paid-only service.
Though many fans purchased the $13.99 Drake album, they could have accessed it for a lower price or even free by subscribing to Apple Music for $9.99 a month or by signing for a free trial. On Friday, the album went on sale via other retailers and will become available on other streaming services a week later.
Two years ago through mutual friend Maverick Carter, basketball star LeBron James’ business manager, Jackson said he met one of Drake’s managers. Jackson said many music fans had no knowledge about where to go to find their favorite artists’ latest tunes as there are so many streaming services and music sites.
According to data from Nielsen, music sales’ more than 60% decline in the past 15 years may continue due to paid streaming services.