After Skipping Spotify, The 1975 Scores a Number 1 Album

The 1975
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The 1975
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Kanye West skipped Spotify and didn’t even chart.  The 1975, on the other hand, have a number 1 album in several countries.

It’s another vote in favor of windowing, the emerging art of strategically rolling out releases to different platforms to maximize sales and impact.  In the case of Kanye, the ‘strategy’ wasn’t windowing at all, just a Tidal exclusive.  That ego-driven approach featured limited timing and sophistication and lots of bombast, and invited near-certain disaster in the form of BitTorrent piracy and non-existent chart positioning.

For The 1975, the story was entirely different, and merits some industry observation.  After avoiding Spotify entirely and focusing the release on iTunes and a variety of physical formats, the band achieved a number one album in several countries.  According to Billboard and its counting partner Nielsen Music, The 1975’s just-released album, I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It, sold 98,000 units in the US alone, a chart-topping tally.

Beyond that, the album also topped the charts in Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, which is no small feat.  In fact, The 1975 joins a very hallowed group of bands to top the album charts in both the US and Britain simultaneously, with groups like the Rolling Stones, The Beatles, and Led Zeppelin also achieving the feat.

Also in the mix is a US-based album specifically created for Target, with two extra bonus tracks.  Overall, most of those sales were actual sales, meaning actual purchases of CDs, vinyl LPs, or downloadable album.  The rest, roughly 9 percent of those ‘sales’ were calculated based on complicated Nielsen formulas that attempt to equate streams with albums.

And where were those other streams coming from?  It turns out that while Spotify has been restricted, other streaming platforms received the release.   That suggests a very targeted exclusion, and a potentially bad case study for Spotify.

15 Responses

  1. Name2

    OMG!!!~1!!! Not a NUMBER 1 ALBUM in BILLBOARD?!?!?

    98,000 units

    LOLz. Okay, just do that 20 more times, 1975, and you might see some money.

  2. Rick Shaw

    Amazing – a story that tries to link two totally separate topics, but fails.

  3. MarkH

    What was the “window” between the CD release and it’s appearance on torrent sites?

    • FarePlay

      Did you ever think that some people have an issue with piracy and don’t see it as an option?

      No one has really proved that interactive streaming lessens piracy. Kanye has two problems, people don’t like him and hip-hop is by far the most heavily pirated genre anyway.

      Whereas Taylor Swift had very little pirating of her album.

      Lastly, many artists believe that streaming is marginally better than piracy and some are simply disgusted with the transference of wealth from creators to broadcasters.

  4. Steve

    I think this says more about the relevance or, irrelevance of charts than anything else.

  5. Keep Telling Yourself You're Not Sinking...

    This article is notably devoid of any proof, definitive facts or other info or data indicating that The 1975 wouldn’t have sold as many units if they had gone to streaming, at the same time, as well.

    Do you have anything concrete on that?


    How is the grand sum of 98,000 units sold in the US “another vote in favor of windowing”????

    • Paul Resnikoff

      I’m not sinking
      I’m not sinking
      I’m not….

  6. DavidB

    I noticed that it was on Apple Music. I was curious to go to Spotify to see their playcount, only to find that it wouldn’t be on Spotify until 11 March. So that seems to be a 3-week window for Spotify alone, presumably because they are sticking to their dogma that everything has to be available to the ‘free’ tier at the same time as paid subscribers.

    • Paul Resnikoff

      Right, it’s a limited time restriction, with likely that exact intent — to limit freebie streamers.

  7. Math

    1500 streams = 1 album scan. It’s not complicated.

    • Elena

      Are you sure about these data? or this number is average?

  8. Ian

    Kanye didn’t sell his album and The 1975 did. What is the point of mentioning him and his “ego-driven” release at all? Genuinely makes no sense… really bad article

  9. Anonymous

    Three songs from the album were available to stream on Spotify. They streamed almost 2.1 million streams of the album’s 7.4 million streams.

  10. Elena

    At first, the whole album was available for free streaming on AppleMusic. I checked yesterday-only 3 tracks were available.