Drake’s Views break streaming record

NEW YORK: Drake smashed a streaming record on May 8 as the Apple-backed Canadian rapper’s latest album scored the biggest debut on the US charts this year.

The songs on Views, which came out on April 29, were streamed 245.1 million times in the United States in the week through May 5, according to tracking service Nielsen Music.

The figure far outpaces the previous record-holding album, Purpose by fellow Canadian star Justin Bieber, whose songs were streamed around 100 million times in the week after its release in November 2015.

Views sold more than one million copies either in direct sales or the equivalent in streaming, making it the best-selling album in the United States in its first week since Adele’s massive 25 — which she kept off streaming services — in November 2015, Nielsen Music said.

Drake’s success marks a victory for Apple as he released Views exclusively through the tech giant’s Apple Music streaming service and iTunes store.

Several tracks, such as the hit Hotline Bling, were available on rival services such as streaming leader Spotify but not the album as a whole.

Views nonetheless earned most of its sales through iTunes purchases, indicating that despite rapid market changes many Apple customers still preferred downloads when the only other choice was Apple Music streaming.

Views — which initially featured an appearance by Jay Z, which was removed — pushed Lemonade to second place on the weekly chart.

Prince’s classic album Purple Rain was number three amid an outpouring after the pop icon’s unexpected death.