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Drake and Beyonce are proof that exclusive streaming deals are a huge success—at least for now

Musician Drake applauds as his image is displayed on the TV monitors during the Serena Williams, Roberta Vinci match at the U.S. Open Championships tennis tournament in New York
Reuters/Carlo Allegri
All smiles
By Joon Ian Wong
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Drake just smashed the all-time weekly streaming record with nearly 248 million streams of his new album Views in its first week, according to data-tracking firm BuzzAngle. The most interesting thing? The album was exclusively available only on Apple’s platforms—streaming service Apple Music and download store iTunes—during that week. 

This has translated into sales of more than $14 million, as Apple reported sales of over 1 million units at $13.99 a pop within the first five days.

Drake is upsetting a record that was previously held by another album with exclusive availability: Beyonce’s Lemonade, released just the previous week, as Music Business Worldwide noted. Listeners can only stream that on Tidal (but you can buy it on other platforms such as iTunes and Amazon), and it clocked 115 million streams in its debut week, according to BuzzAngle.

The explosive performance of Drake’s and Beyonce’s albums could have ramifications not just for music consumers, but for the world’s biggest tech companies. If artists are able to cut exclusive deals and generate massive revenues by “corralling” their fans (paywall) onto one platform, as Apple’s content head Larry Jackson told the Wall Street Journal, then tech giants will have found a way to extract more revenue from content and services.

Indeed, Apple’s second largest revenue segment is now “services,” which includes its music platforms. In an era of slowing growth for Apple, the return of the exclusive album could be a boon.

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