The five largest streaming weeks for an album in the U.S. have all occurred in the last six months, with the debut of Drake’s Views leading the way. The hip-hop star’s latest album entered the Billboard 200 chart dated May 21 at No. 1 with 245.1 million domestic streams generated for its tracks across all streaming services in the week ending May 5, according to Nielsen Music.
Views was initially released exclusively for sale through the iTunes Store and to stream via Apple Music on April 29 by Young Money/Cash Money/Republic Records. On May 6, the album became available for purchase through other digital retailers and its physical CD was also released. Apple Music continues to be the exclusive streamer of the full album, while select tracks are available at other streaming services. (The 245.1 million sum includes streams from all services that contribute to the Billboard 200, including Spotify.)
Beyonce’s Lemonade: Coming in second on the streaming record list is the first week of Beyonce’s Lemonade, which spurred 115.2 million streams in the week ending April 28. Lemonade was released on the evening of Saturday, April 23 through Tidal’s streaming service, and then through its retail arm shortly thereafter. (Thus, it had less than six days of streams in its debut week, as the tracking week ends every Thursday and most new albums are released on Fridays.) It became widely available to all digital retailers on April 25. Tidal continues to be the exclusive streaming service with access to the full album.
Justin Bieber’s Purpose: At No. 3 on the all-time biggest streaming weeks list is the debut frame of Justin Bieber’s Purpose, which triggered 100.4 million streams for its tracks in the week ending Nov. 19, 2015.
Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo: The bow of Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo is fourth on the list, with 99.5 million streams in the week ending April 7. That was the album’s first week of wide availability, after being mostly exclusive to Tidal’s streaming service from Feb. 13 through March 31.
The Life of Pablo was initially released on Feb. 13 via Tidal’s streaming service, and briefly as a commercial download via West’s official website. The set’s Feb. 13-March 31 sales and streams through Tidal were not reported to Nielsen Music, whose data powers the Billboard 200 chart, and it was thus unable to chart.
On April 1, the album became widely available to other streaming services, and went on sale via West and Tidal’s sites. The streams and sales of the wide release were reported to Nielsen Music, enabling its arrival on the charts.
Beyonce’s Lemonade (again!): Closing out the top five largest streaming weeks for an album is the second week of Beyonce’s Lemonade, which collected 97.5 million streams for its tracks in the week ending May 5.