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Have You Seen Kanye’s The Life of Pablo on Any Album Charts? (HINT: No, You Haven’t–And Here’s Why)

Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo was released in a firestorm of hype and media coverage and it’s all anyone has been talking about for the last month. So how’s it doing to on the Billboard Top 200 album chart? With all the attention and with Kanye’s massive fanbase, it has to be in at least the top five, right?

What? It’s not? So what position does it occupy? It doesn’t? You mean it’s not on the Billboard charts at all? How is that possible?

Simple. Kanye won’t allow the release of any numbers. Allegedly.

The Life of Pablo is unconventional in the sense that there’s no physical release. It’s official exclusive source is Jay Z’s Tidal streaming music service. There’s no other (legal) way to hear the album other than to sign up for a Tidal subscription.

Nielsen SoundScan has a new formula for weighting streams in a way that they translate to old-school album sales. But to do that, they need some streaming statistics from Tidal–and they haven’t been forthcoming. Why? Does it have to do with the two executives that were fired from the company this week? Or is does this feature the hand of Kanye.

If you picked “Kanye,” you’re right.  According to HipHopDx:

It appears that Kanye West purposely blocked The Life Of Pablo numbers from being made public.

A statement released from TIDAL highly suggests that rapper Kanye West was the one responsible for The Life Of Pablo‘s sales numbers not being made public.

As a result of Ye’s questionable move, The Life Of Pablo was noticeably absent from last week’s Billboard charts, leaving both fans and critics unsure of the ultimate payoff behind the rapper’s decision to release the album exclusively through TIDAL, a company he holds ownership in.

The statement from TIDAL, which was made to The Verge, states that the company “does share streaming data with Nielsen Music unless requested not to by an artist.”

The Life Of Pablo did break records on TIDAL, even doubling the amount of subscribers to the service, but with a lack of numbers it’s unclear what that translates to outside of TIDAL.

TIDAL’s mini bombshell of a statement would also suggest that Beyonce was the one who blocked her “Formation” numbers from being released to Nielsen Music.

Kanye? What are you doin’, buddy? By the way, if you want to stream the album from a source other than Tidal, you can try Pornhub. No, really.





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 37464 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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