Kanye West's 'The Life of Pablo' is the First "Post-Physical" #1 Album

'Pablo' dominates the U.S. charts almost entirely based on streams.
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'Pablo' dominates the U.S. charts almost entirely based on streams.
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With over 100 million track streams on Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play, and TIDAL, and some modest digital buys on kanyewest.com, The Life of Pablo has become Kanye West’s sixth consecutive solo album to debut at #1 on the Billboard charts (he also has a #1 for Watch the Throne, his joint LP with Jay Z). What’s noteworthy here is that he did it almost entirely thanks to streams, effectively making Pablo the first “post-physical” #1 album. What a time to be alive. 

Here is how the numbers break down: 100 million verified streams amount to the “equivalent” of 65,000 album sales. On top of that, Mr. West sold about 25,000 downloads of Pablo on his website (for $20 a pop too!). The album is otherwise not on sale at any digital retailer. (It is also not likely to see a physical release; West maintains that the CD is dead.) 

In other chart news, Big Sean and Jhené Aiko’s Twenty88 project moved about 48k (#4), Weezer did 47k (#5), and Rihanna added another 46k (#6).