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Prince’s Streaming Numbers: ‘Purple Rain’ & Other Hits Lead, But There Are Some Surprises

The numbers on the artist's catalog, which returned to major streaming services Sunday, reached 12.7 million streams by the end of Wednesday and show no signs of slowing down.

As Prince’s catalog reaches the end of its first week back on major streaming services, the numbers show no signs of slowing down.

Prince’s music from the first 17 years of his career — including most of his major hits — returned to most major streaming services on Feb. 12, after being available only on Tidal since July of 2015 after the artist struck a deal with the company that is currently in dispute. The now-widely available music stretches from his 1978 debut, For You, through 1994’s Come (along with several compilations); most of his releases after that period remain exclusive to Tidal. 

Preliminary reports suggest Prince’s entire streaming catalog, including Tidal-only works, earned 12.67 million on-demand audio streams in the U.S. from Feb. 12–15, according to Nielsen Music.


Following the Feb. 12 expansion, Prince’s five most-streamed songs through Feb. 15 (measured by U.S. on-demand audio streams) are as follow:

1. “Purple Rain” (764,000)
2. “Let’s Go Crazy” (732,000)
3. “When Doves Cry” (695,000)
4. “Kiss” (602,000)
5. “Little Red Corvette” (514,000)
6. “1999” (431,000)
7. “I Wanna Be Your Lover” (386,000)
8. “Raspberry Beret” (360,000)
9. “Delirious” (264,000)
10. “Sign O’ The Times” (257,000)

While the above list isn’t too surprising — eight of the 10 songs reached the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 and the two exceptions, “Lover” and “1999” reached Nos. 11 and 12, respectively — several Prince album cuts also proved popular in their first week of widespread streaming availability.

Prince’s highest-streaming non-Hot 100 hit in the days following his catalog’s expansion was the raunchy “Darling Nikki,” which pulled 222,000 streams. The song was notably a catalyst for Tipper Gore’s founding of the Parents Music Resource Center, whose work eventually led to the adoption of “Parental Advisory” stickers’ on songs and albums deemed to contain explicit content.


“Nikki” leads Prince’s five highest-streamed songs that did not reach the Hot 100, which also includes two songs — “Erotic City” and “She’s Always in My Hair” — that were originally released as B-sides in 1984 and ’85, respectively. The full top five alternative cuts, as measured by U.S. on-demand audio streams, are as follow:

1. “Darling Nikki” (222,000; the 14th most streamed overall Prince song for the period)
2. “The Beautiful Ones” (193,000; 16th overall)
3. “Erotic City” (172,000; 19th overall)
4. “Adore” (163,000; 21st overall)
5. “She’s Always in My Hair” (158,000; 23rd overall)

Notably, the first four tunes on the list have each gathered more streams at this point than some established Prince hit singles, including the 1991 Hot 100 No. 1 hit single “Cream” (162,000 streams, ranking as Prince’s 22nd highest-streamed track in the period) and the appropriately-titled No. 7-peaking “7” (141,000 streams).

The services surveyed for this report are Amazon Music Unlimited, Amazon Prime, Apple Music, Google Play, Groove, Music Pass (from Xbox), Medianet, Napster, Soundcloud, Slacker, Spotify and Tidal.