Kanye West’s Donda listening party at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta last Thursday, Aug. 5, set a new livestream record for Apple Music, pulling in 5.4 million viewers, sources tell Billboard.
For context, the total is more than double the current livestream record on Twitch — and approaches the 2020 Primetime Emmys, which pulled in an audience of 6.1 million people across the U.S. last September — making it one of the biggest livestream events in the past year. Sources say the Donda listening party generated over 1.1 million tweets at its peak, outpacing Twitter activity for the 2020 MTV VMAs.
West held a first Donda listening event on July 23 and since then has been living at Mercedes-Benz Stadium while putting the finishing touches on Donda, his 10th studio album. Between the two listening parties, West made considerable tweaks to the album, adding and removing features and entire songs, so it remains to be seen what the definitive version of Donda will sound like once the album is released. After numerous delays, Donda is expected to be released in the coming weeks.
The second event on Aug. 5 also pulled in $7 million in revenue from in-person merchandise sales, sources say. The highest-grossing U.S. tour since 1990 — when Billboard Boxscore began tracking touring data — is Taylor Swift’s Reputation Stadium Tour in 2018, which grossed just under $7 million per show. That number also matches the revenue for the first drop from Yeezy x Gap, West’s new collaboration with the Gap, which former Gap CEO Mickey Drexler told Yahoo Finance generated $7 million overnight when a $200 blue puffer coat was released in June.
The upcoming project is filled with features from a plethora of artists including Jay-Z, Travis Scott, Kid Cudi, Playboi Carti, Baby Keem, Roddy Ricch, and Jay Electronica, among others. West also partnered with Apple-subsidiary Beats on commercials featuring American track and field star Sha’Carri Richardson to announce the album, which a source says have generated over 35 million views to date across platforms. Since the album was announced, it has generated over 6 million tweets on Twitter, sources tell Billboard.
Apple and Beats did not respond to requests for comment.