Music Downloads are Dead, and Chance The Rapper Proves It…

Chance The Rapper Is The First Artist To Have A Streaming-Only Album Chart On The Billboard 200
  • Save

Chance the Rapper’s Coloring Book is the first album to hit the Billboard 200 chart despite only being available on streaming services.

There is no physical version of the album for fans to purchase, whether CD or vinyl.   There’s nothing on iTunes.  It’s only available on Apple Music to stream, it’s not even on other streaming services until the end of the month.  Now, projections place this album at the top of the upcoming album charts, based solely on streaming activity. According to Billboard, ‘Coloring Book’ will debut at No. 8 on this week’s chart.

Chance’s debut on the chart really highlights the rise of streaming and signifies huge developments in the music industry. It also marks a major milestone for the format. Streaming is already the biggest revenue generator for the music industry, surpassing digital downloads and making up more than a third of the total music industry revenue in 2015. So, the fact that an album can gain chart placement without the need for physical copies, or digital downloads demonstrates a turning point for the music industry.

‘Coloring Book’ is one of the many major releases this year – there’s been Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo, Beyonce’s Lemonade, and Drake’s Views. Though, despite all of these albums being massively successful, none of which have been able to hit the charts purely from streaming numbers alone.

Chance has made history, and for now has vowed to stay as an independent artist and not sign with a major label, so he can continue to take full control of his music business-related decisions. Chance is also adamant on sticking with just streaming services with no plans underway for a physical or digital release.

(Image by The Come Up Show, Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic, cc by 2.0)

9 Responses

  1. Lynne Robin Green

    Biggest revenue generator for who, not songwriters not the artist..reform digital rates abolish the consent decrees,its raping this business.


        For the record labels/publishers who traded catalogs for cash and chose (legally, but in bad faith) to ignore this as the royalties it should have been.

  2. Anonymous

    Some movies do well when they premiere on Netflix. That said, I don’t see movie theaters going away any time soon.

  3. Versus

    Why would he not also release it as a payable download (iTunes etc)?

    • James

      Because then he wouldn’t be in the news right now.

  4. FarePlay

    It would be wise not to eliminate any music distribution channels until we see what happens with interactive streaming. Without the most recent billion dollar bail-out Spotify would be shutting down and Ek would be headed back to Sweden.

    If only it were true.