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HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY SELLING

The biggest new artists are album-sales stiffs.

OK, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration. But a glance at total activity on the three top new acts in the marketplace—Post Malone, Migos and Lil Uzi Vert—shows not only that streams dominate but that album sales contribute a comparatively slender portion.

These three, arguably the first to achieve superstar status mostly from streaming, have each collected between 3.7-3.9b streams, generating the equivalent of about 2.5m in album sales for each—but actual retail album sales account for roughly 5-10% of their totals.

Migos, whose Culture II (Quality Control/Motown/Capitol) was released several weeks ago, have collected 3.2m career album equivalents, with 343k album sales and nearly 4.9m track downloads. Lil Uzi Vert, meanwhile, exploded last summer with his Luv Is Rage 2 (Generation Now/Atlantic); to date, Uzi is at 2.8m album equivalents, with 1.9m tracks and 150k album sales. 

Since 2015, Republic’s Malone has racked up total activity of more than 3.2m album equivalents. Stoney, his debut album, has been in the Top 20 for 62 of its 65 weeks of release. A breakdown of the debut album shows 2.8b in total streams, 3.3m track sales and 187k in traditional album sales.

The track “rockstar,” which was released last September and will be featured on Malone's forthcoming sophomore release, Beerbongs and Bentleys, has sold 1.1m downloads and garnered 600m streams. “Psycho,” released three weeks ago, racked up 45m+ streams and a #1 song project debut of more than 380k. Streams alone would be almost enough to certify the set gold upon its release, and TEA+SEA takes it over the line. Meanwhile, could Beerbongs surpass its predecessor and achieve Drake-level sales? Don't touch that dial.

Nonetheless, we await K-Tel's long-playing Hip-Hop Hits of the Streaming Era with bated breath. Hope it's a gatefold.

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