(070418) Drake, "Scorpion"
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Drake’s Scorpion streams a billion times in a week. How much did he make?

The big news in the music industry today is how Drake obliterated all kinds of streaming records with his new album, Scorpion. You might not be a fan of the guy and you might wonder why he insides on released a far-to-long double album, but you can’t argue with success.

Scorpion is the first album to be streamed a billion times in a week. Drake also set a record for having the most streams by any artist in a given week, having been heard 750 million times. And Scorpion has the highest-streamed total for a debut week.

Another thing: Drake has four of the top 10 best-ever streaming weeks. (Billboard has more facts here.)

Impressive, right? So how much money has Drake made just from Scorpion in this week?

If we stake the average industry payout per stream, which is $0.008 (eight one-hundredths of a cent per stream), that would indicate he’s earned $8 million just from streaming. In a week.

But how does this to compare to how Scorpion would have fared in the pre-streaming days of the CD? The voodoo Billboard uses to convert streams into an equivalent number of CDs indicates that we’re looking at 700,000 copies. That’s a good first-week sales number by any measure.

If we assume that Drake would have made a buck a CD–we really have no idea since these royalty deals are subject to individual negotiations–that would yield a net of $700,000.

I think it’s safe to say that Drake is fine with living in the streaming world.


Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38300 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

5 thoughts on “Drake’s Scorpion streams a billion times in a week. How much did he make?

  • But did the entire album get streamed a billion times or just the single/popular song enough times to “count as an entire album”. The streaming count voodoo is just that.

  • An error in your math on CD equivalent. 700,000X$1=$700,000. It would be $7 million if he earned ten bucks per CD

    • But he wouldnt see all of that.. Most would go into the actual materials, distribution and to the record company. Drake’s cut would be about a dollar per cd.

  • My question is this.. Out of the $8 million he made from streaming, does he have to pay the producers and studios and every other hand that touches the music from that? We know how much goes to him from traditional cd sales, but does that $0.008 get split more than just an artist cut?


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