Drake isn’t scared of (releasing new music and making lots of streaming money during) Coronavirus lockdown

Drake is big business.

The Canadian megastar released his last full studio album, Scorpion, in June 2018. That same year, according to BuzzAngle / Alpha Data stats, Drake pulled in some 7.74bn on-demand audio streams in the United States, adding to a total annual market volume of 534.6bn.

Do you know what that means? It means Drake – just Drake – polled a 1.45% market share of the entire US-based audio streaming market that year. There are record labels who would do very bad things to attain that figure; Drake did it on his own.

(To make this even more meaningful for you: Last year, the RIAA said that total US trade income from standard paid-streaming subscriptions was $5.93bn. A 1.45% market share of that annual figure would have been worth… $86m.)

This is useful context through which to understand the importance of this news today (March 31): Drake has announced that he will be releasing a new track at midnight on Thursday (i.e. on Friday, April 3).

That track is called Toosie Slide, according to an Instagram post from Drizzy himself, and seems tailor-made – for one thing – to become a TikTok smash.

The single was teased by Toosie (@TheRealYvngQuan’s) himself on Insta on March 29 via a short clip in which you can clearly make out two things: (i) This track has the perfect lyrics for a TikTok dance challenge (“right foot – up, left foot – slide; left foot – up, right foot – slide”); and (ii) Said teaser video sets out exactly how to dance to that particularly instructive part of the song.

Adding to the music industry-related fun of this release, of course, is the effect of Coronavirus quarantine, the world over, on streaming consumption behavior.

MBW has confirmed that TikTok streams have grown considerably in the United States since President Donald Trump declared a state of national emergency on March 13.

What’s more, major releases elsewhere have dried up – with standout scheduled album releases from the likes of Sam Smith, Lady Gaga and Alicia Keys, for example, being pushed back – leaving the way clear for Drake’s dominance on streaming charts to become even more lucrative for the rapper and his label team (Cash Money/Young Money/Republic) than usual.

Here’s how that works: streaming volume on services such as Spotify appear to be down between 5% and 10% in the past fortnight.

Yet so long as Spotify, Apple Music et al don’t lose a material amount of paying subscribers – thanks to the ‘big pot’ system of streaming royalty payouts – all this volume decline really means is that each stream on these services is now worth more money to rightsholders than it would have been had playcount levels kept growing.

In other words: If Drake dominates the streaming charts with Toosie Slide after this Friday, he’ll probably make an even bigger lump of cash from digital platforms than he would in a busier release week.

Everybody, now, “right foot – up, left foot – slide; left foot – up, right foot – slide…”Music Business Worldwide

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