Every single number that’s rolled in around Drake’s juggernaut new album Scorpion, from the size of its track list to the playback figures reported by streaming services, has been staggering. Within half a day of the record’s Friday morning release, Spotify announced that streams from it had climbed to 10 million an hour. Scorpion’s first-day streaming total on the service came out at 132 million. On Apple Music, that figure was 170 million. Those are the highest single-day streams ever reported by the two services.
What does all of that mean in the one metric that matters most: dollars? Because Spotify and Apple Music pay royalties through a pro rata business model – meaning that their revenue is all put into a pool and then proportionally divvied up among rights holders depending on their share of streams – there is no definitive per-stream rate. But according to Spotify’s company filings in years past, average per-stream payouts from the company are between $0.006 and $0.0084. Apple Music’s figures hover at about the same.
If we take the conservative lower estimate, the 302 million streams that Scorpion scored in its first 24 hours yielded $1.8 million.
The higher estimate – which is likely closer to the real figure because Drake is one of the top-streamed artists of the last several years – puts those same day’s worth of streams at $2.5 million.
These numbers are from the two biggest streaming services alone, completely omitting any money made from YouTube Music, Pandora, Tidal, Amazon Music or any of the other streaming services available around the globe. This is also only the very beginning for Scorpion, whose 25 songs are on track to shatter yet another record and hit a collective 1 billion streams by the end of the week.
The album’s dizzyingly quick rise doesn’t speak to its accomplishments as a musical work, though, so much as its successful optimization of business marketing tactics for the streaming era. By cramming 25 songs into one (albeit technically double-sided) album, Drake has maximized the number of opportunities for a single album to rack up plays. And since streaming services charge a buffet-style monthly fee rather than a price per song à la the iTunes downloads of a decade past, fans aren’t deterred from listening to all of those 25 songs – over and over, even. Scorpion‘s “takeover” of Spotify this weekend, which was met with both admiration and sharp irritation from the service’s users, undoubtedly also helped bump up play counts by pushing listeners toward the album at every turn. In short: The biggest victory of Drake’s record-breaking streaming numbers is how well they were planned from the start.