Last week, our Tom Breihan posted a scathing review of A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie’s generic new album Hoodie SZN. This week, the album has moved past 21 Savage’s I Am > I Was to hit #1 on the Billboard 200. But there’s a catch: As the New York Times points out, Hoodie SZN sold only 823 copies, the lowest ever for a #1 album. All of the sales were downloads, as Hoodie SZN has not been released in any physical formats.
The 823 figure is somewhat deceiving, of course. Billboard notes that Hoodie SZN tallied the equivalent of 58,000 in sales — still low for a #1 album, but not nearly as pitiful looking for the music industry. It’s just that 56,000 of those units derive from streaming — about 83 million on-demand track streams. Still, a #1 album with less than 1,000 in sales… damn. The times, they are a changin’.
Don’t be surprised to see more of this in the coming years, as streaming continues to burrow into the center of the music industry. Artists like Chance The Rapper and Future have put albums in the top 10 on the strength of streaming alone, so it’s only a matter of time before an album hits #1 with zero sales. I continue to wonder how long it will be before Billboard stops converting streams into sales figures and instead starts converting sales into streaming figures. For more on this and other recent pop chart phenomena, check out my recent State Of Pop Address.