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Kendrick Lamar’s ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’ Sets First-Day Streaming Record

Surprise! Kendrick Lamar broke Spotify's streaming record -- and made a lot of money in the process.

Kendrick Lamar’s surprise release of To Pimp A Butterfly around midnight on Sunday prompted a deluge of commentary and a surfeit of surprise across the Internet through the dark hours of Monday straight through the late afternoon of Tuesday. (A reaction that the without-warning drop, pushed up a week from its schedule, was likely intended to force.) Critics reluctantly, but beautifully, rendered their first impressions of the dense and kaleidoscopic work.


Considering that, it’s no surprise that a lot of people streamed the record on its first day. A lot of people. Tracks from the record were listened to 9.6 million times on Spotify during its first day, a new global record for first-day streams on that particular service. (Michael Buble’s Christmas was the previous same-day global record-holder.)

How much is that worth? A Spotify representative confirmed that the 9.6 million represents any stream from the record, meaning Lamar’s new long-player brought in about $44,160 in a single day globally, according to Billboard estimates.

Importantly, the iTunes Store did not have the album available for immediate download until well into Monday, driving fans to streaming services in order to hear the record.

Requests to Rdio and Deezer for their own first-day stream tallies from the record were not immediately returned.

Additional reporting by Ed Christman.