Drake’s ‘Scorpion’ Is Nielsen Music’s Top Album Of 2018 in U.S., ‘God’s Plan’ Most-Streamed Song

Plus: Album equal audio music consumption gained 23%, R&B/hip-hop continues dominance as hottest style, and complete on-demand streams grew 49%.

For the second time, Drake takes residence the distinction of getting the preferred album of the yr, according to Nielsen Music. His Scorpion launch finishes 2018 because the yr’s high album within the U.S., following the hip-hop king’s coronation in 2016 with Views. The monitoring agency studies that Scorpion earned three.905 million equal album models throughout the yr, with 330,000 of that sum coming from album gross sales.

In 2017, Ed Sheeran’s ÷ (Divide) was named Nielsen Music’s high album.

Scorpion’s three.905 million equal album models sum is a multi-metric consumption complete, which incorporates album gross sales, observe equal albums (TEA) and on-demand audio streaming equal albums (SEA). The multi-metric system can be used to compile the weekly Billboard 200 albums chart, which ranks the preferred albums of the week within the U.S. (One TEA unit is the same as 10 tracks bought from an album. One SEA unit is the same as 1,250 paid subscription or three,750 ad-supported on-demand audio streams of tracks from an album.)

Nielsen Music’s 2018 monitoring yr ran from Dec. 29, 2017 by way of Jan. three, 2019. Due to a quirk within the calendar, there have been 53 weeks in 2018, as a substitute of the standard 52. So, for 2018 quantity comparisons to 2017, a corresponding 53-week interval is utilized by Nielsen Music for 2017: Dec. 30, 2016 by way of Jan. four, 2018. (Historical comparable references to quantity in 2017 versus that of 2016 used the standard comparable 52-week years for each, as acknowledged in earlier Billboard tales.)

Numbers on this story are rounded. Nielsen Music started electronically monitoring gross sales and information in 1991 (so a reference on this story to the “Nielsen period” means from 1991 to the current).

Scorpion’s year-end end as Nielsen Music’s high album was powered largely by its streaming exercise, because the set garnered three.293 million SEA models (equaling four.572 billion on-demand audio streams for the set’s songs in 2018). Scorpion can be the most-streamed album of 2018.

Scorpion marked Drake’s eighth No. 1 album on the weekly Billboard 200 chart, the place it dominated for 5 weeks. In the set’s debut body, it racked up a weekly file 745.9 million on-demand audio streams for its songs.

The set spun off three No. 1 hits on the weekly Billboard Hot 100 songs chart: “God’s Plan” (No. 1 for 11 weeks), “Nice for What” (No. 1 for eight weeks) and “In My Feelings” (No. 1 for 10 weeks). Drake’s mixed complete of 29 weeks at No. 1 on the Hot 100 in 2018 was essentially the most weeks atop the checklist in a yr by any artist for the reason that chart launched in 1958.

RankArtist, TitleTotal UnitsAlbum SalesTEA UnitsSEA Units
1Drake, Scorpionthree,905,000330,000282,000three,293,000
2Post Malone, beerbongs & bentleysthree,251,000374,000234,0002,643,000
threeSoundtrack, The Greatest Showman2,499,0001,491,000187,000821,000
fourCardi B, Invasion of Privacy2,060,000222,000184,0001,654,000
5Travis Scott, Astroworld1,985,000464,00049,0001,471,000
6XXXTentacion, ?1,637,00094,00082,0001,461,000
7Migos, Culture II1,599,000115,00090,0001,393,000
eightEd Sheeran, ÷ (Divide)1,481,000367,000212,000902,000
9Soundtrack, Black Panther: The Album1,459,000234,000104,0001,120,000
10Post Malone, Stoney1,388,00095,00084,0001,209,000

Source: Nielsen Music, for the monitoring interval Dec. 29, 2017 by way of Jan. three, 2019.

Post Malone captures two of the yr’s high 10 albums, as his sophomore studio set Beerbongs & Bentleys, launched in 2018, finishes at No. 2 (three.251 million models) whereas his debut studio album Stoney, launched in 2016, is at No. 10 (1.388 million models). Post is the primary act to have two of the yr’s high 10 albums since Nielsen Music started monitoring albums by general consumption in 2014. Dating again to when the yr’s general high 10 albums had been ranked solely by album gross sales (pre-2014), Malone is the primary act to double up within the high 10 since 2012, when One Direction had the Nos. three and 5 biggest-selling titles (with Up All Night and Take Me Home, respectively).

The No. three album of 2018 is the multi-artist soundtrack to The Greatest Showman, with 2.499 million models. It is the highest-ranked year-end soundtrack since 2014, when Frozen was the yr’s most-consumed album, with four.471 million models earned that yr. Notably, The Greatest Showman’s success is essentially pushed by album gross sales, and never streams, like Scorpion and Beerbongs. The Greatest Showman bought 1.491 million copies in 2018, and was the top-selling album of the yr (extra on that in a second).

Hip-hop albums overwhelmingly dominate Nielsen Music’s year-end high 10 albums tally, as there are simply two titles from outdoors the style: the pop units The Greatest Showman and Sheeran’s ÷ (Divide). A yr in the past, hip-hop held 4 of the highest 10.

MUSIC CONSUMPTION CONTINUES TO GAIN: Album equal audio consumption in 2018 jumped 23 %, rising to 618 million models (up from 501 million). Those figures mix album gross sales, TEA models and SEA models from on-demand audio streams.

The R&B/hip-hop style dominated the yr in consumption, because it did in 2017. In 2018, the style equaled 25.6 % of album equal audio consumption — the biggest share of any style in 2018.

"SHOWMAN" IS YEAR’S TOP-SELLING ALBUM: The soundtrack to the film musical The Greatest Showman is 2018’s top-selling album, with 1.491 million copies bought. It was the one album to promote greater than 1 million copies in 2018, and it marks the primary time since Nielsen started monitoring gross sales in 1991 that simply one album bought greater than one million in a calendar yr. The prior fewest variety of million sellers had occurred in 2017, when simply two albums crossed the million mark: Taylor Swift’s popularity (1.9 million) and Sheeran’s ÷ (Divide) (1.1 million).

Showman additionally marks the primary time the yr’s top-selling album is a soundtrack since 2006, when the companion album to the Disney Channel TV musical film High School Musical was tops with three.719 million.

RankArtist, TitleSales
1Soundtrack, The Greatest Showman1,491,000
2Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born (Soundtrack)704,000
threeEminem, Kamikaze493,000
fourTravis Scott, Astroworld464,000
5Jason Aldean, Rearview Town463,000
6Justin Timberlake, Man of the Woods422,000
7Carrie Underwood, Cry Pretty401,000
eightPost Malone, beerbongs & bentleys374,000
9Dave Matthews Band, Come Tomorrow369,000
10Ed Sheeran, ÷ (Divide)367,000

Source: Nielsen Music, for the monitoring interval Dec. 29, 2017 by way of Jan. three, 2019.

ALBUM SALES FALL AGAIN: Overall album gross sales in 2018 fell by 17.7 % to 141 million copies bought throughout all codecs (CD, digital albums, vinyl LPs, cassettes, and so forth.). The decline is about on par with the amount drop in 2017 vs. 2016 (17.7 %, to 169.15 million copies bought).

Scrolling again in time, album gross sales decreased 16.7 % in 2016, 6 % in 2015, 11 % in 2014, eight % in 2013 and four % in 2012.

Physical album gross sales (CD, vinyl, cassette, and so forth.) dropped by 15.eight % to 88 million in 2018. CD album gross sales comprised 70.7 million of that sum (down 20.9 %). The CD format continues to be the chief for album purchases, whereas the digital format is the runner-up with 53.four million digital albums bought in 2018 (down 20.7 %).

The biggest-selling digital album of 2018 is The Greatest Showman soundtrack, with 883,000 digital downloads bought. Rock music dominated album gross sales, because the style comprised a whopping 37.four % of all album purchases in 2018.

RankArtist, TitleSales
1Soundtrack, The Greatest Showman883,000
2Travis Scott, Astroworld435,000
threeEminem, Kamikaze381,000
fourLady Gaga & Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born (Soundtrack)299,000
5Drake, Scorpion256,000
6Post Malone, beerbongs & bentleys222,000
7Cardi B, Invasion of Privacy218,000
eightJustin Timberlake, Man of the Woods183,000
9J. Cole, KOD180,000
10Lil Wayne, Tha Carter V173,000

Source: Nielsen Music, for the monitoring interval Dec. 29, 2017 by way of Jan. three, 2019.

HOT WAX: Vinyl album gross sales proceed to be a brilliant spot amongst an in any other case bleak album gross sales image. For the 13th consecutive yr, vinyl album gross sales have grown to a brand new yearly excessive, rising to 16.eight million bought in 2018 (up 14.6 %).

Vinyl LP gross sales accounted for 11.9 % of all album gross sales in 2018. In 2017, the format comprised 6.5 % of album gross sales. Impressively, vinyl album gross sales had been a whopping 19.1 % of all bodily album gross sales in 2018 — a brand new Nielsen-era file share for the once-dormant format, up from 14 % in 2017.

In complete, 14 albums bought greater than 50,000 copies on vinyl – up from simply eight titles in 2017. Further, 79 titles exceeded 20,000 in LP gross sales in 2018, as in comparison with 77 in 2017, and 58 in 2016.

The top-selling vinyl album of 2018 is the Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1 soundtrack, with 84,000 copies bought. It is adopted by Michael Jackson’s Thriller (practically 84,000), Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours (77,000), The Beatles’ Abbey Road (76,000) and Prince and The Revolution’s soundtrack to Purple Rain (71,000).

Rock music is tops amongst vinyl album patrons, because the style contains the biggest share of vinyl LP gross sales: 63 %. In 2017, the style amounted to 67 % of LP gross sales, whereas in 2016 rock yielded 69 % of LP gross sales.

Sales of older albums proceed to drive the majority of vinyl LP gross sales, as deep catalog titles (albums which can be no less than 36 months previous) held a 65 % share of vinyl album gross sales in 2018. The solely title amongst 2018’s high 10 promoting vinyl albums that isn't a deep catalog title is Panic! on the Disco’s Pray for the Wicked (No. 10 with 59,000), which was launched in June of 2018.

RankArtist, TitleSales
1Soundtrack, Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 184,000
2Michael Jackson, Thriller84,000
threeFleetwood Mac, Rumours77,000
fourThe Beatles, Abbey Road76,000
5Prince and The Revolution, Purple Rain (Soundtrack)71,000
6Pink Floyd, The Dark Side of the Moon67,000
7Bob Marley and The Wailers, Legend: The Best Of…61,000
eightQueen, Greatest Hits60,000
9Amy Winehouse, Back to Black59,000
10Panic! on the Disco, Pray for the Wicked59,000

Source: Nielsen Music, for the monitoring interval Dec. 29, 2017 by way of Jan. three, 2019.

"GOD" RULES STREAMING WORLD: Drake’s smash single “God’s Plan” finishes 2018 because the most-streamed music of the yr, because it collected 1.566 billion on-demand audio and video streams. It was one in every of 4 titles to surpass 1 billion streams in 2018, up from only one billion-streamer in 2017.

The high 10 most-streamed songs of 2018 had been unsurprisingly dominated by hip-hop titles, with solely Sheeran’s “Perfect” being the non-hip-hop effort within the area (at No. 9, with 797.27 million streams).

“God’s Plan” was additionally the most-streamed music when it comes to audio-only on-demand streams (918.87 million) and video-only on-demand streams (647.84 million). Overall on-demand streams (audio and video mixed) rose 42.6 % in 2018 to 901 billion. On-demand audio streams vaulted 49 % to 611 billion, whereas on-demand video streams surged 30 % to 290 billion.

The R&B/hip-hop style led the way in which in complete on-demand streaming, with 29.7 % of all streams in 2018. The second-largest style was rock music, with 14.2 %.

RankArtist, TitleStreams
1Drake, "God's Plan"1,565,711,000
2Juice WRLD, "Lucid Dreams"1,107,289,000
threeDrake, "In My Feelings"1,100,534,000
fourXXXTentacion, "Sad!"1,026,294,000
5Post Malone that includes Ty Dolla $ign, "Psycho"924,496,000
6Post Malone that includes 21 Savage, "Rockstar"905,440,000
7Cardi B, Bad Bunny & J Balvin, "I Like It"873,494,000
eightDrake, "Nice for What"844,403,000
9Ed Sheeran, "Perfect"797,274,000
10BlocBoy JB that includes Drake, "Look Alive"766,073,000

Source: Nielsen Music, for the monitoring interval Dec. 29, 2017 by way of Jan. three, 2019.

RankArtist, TitleStreams
1Drake, "God's Plan"917,872,000
2Post Malone that includes Ty Dolla $ign, "Psycho"594,516,000
threeDrake, "Nice for What"576,214,000
fourJuice WRLD, "Lucid Dreams"572,972,000
5XXXTentacion, "Sad!"565,324,000
6Post Malone that includes 21 Savage, "Rockstar"525,971,000
7Drake, "In My Feelings"522,591,000
eightBlocBoy JB that includes Drake, "Look Alive"522,155,000
9Cardi B, Bad Bunny & J Balvin, "I Like It"508,202,000
10Travis Scott, "Sicko Mode"479,509,000

Source: Nielsen Music, for the monitoring interval Dec. 29, 2017 by way of Jan. three, 2019.

RankArtist, TitleStreams
1Drake, "God's Plan"647,839,000
2Drake, "In My Feelings"577,943,000
threeJuice WRLD, "Lucid Dreams"534,317,000
fourXXXTentacion, "Sad!"460,970,000
5Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee that includes Justin Bieber, "Despacito"422,743,000
6Maroon 5 that includes Cardi B, "Girls Like You"415,292,000
7Camila Cabello that includes Young Thug, "Havana"399,510,000
eightElla Mai, "Boo'd Up"398,445,000
9Post Malone that includes 21 Savage, "Rockstar"379,468,000
10Cardi B, Bad Bunny & J Balvin, "I Like It"365,292,000

Source: Nielsen Music, for the monitoring interval Dec. 29, 2017 by way of Jan. three, 2019.

"PERFECT" LEADS DIGITAL SONGS ROUNDUP: As shoppers more and more adapt to utilizing streaming companies to get pleasure from music as a substitute of shopping for particular person songs and albums, music gross sales naturally lower. Digital music gross sales are not any exception, as general gross sales fell 27.2 % in 2018 to 412 million. It marks the sixth yr in a row of declines for the format.

The top-selling digital music of 2018 is Sheeran’s “Perfect,” with 1.three million bought, adopted by two extra million sellers: Drake’s “God’s Plan” (1.06 million) and Bebe Rexha and Florida Georgia Line’s “Meant to Be” (1.04 million).

For the primary time since 2006, there have been no songs that bought 2 million downloads in a calendar yr. A yr in the past, there was only one: Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s “Despacito,” that includes Justin Bieber, with 2.69 million. (Nielsen Music started monitoring digital music gross sales in 2003.) Further, in 2018, there have been solely three million-sellers, down from 14 in 2017.

From 2004 by way of 2012, digital music gross sales grew on a yearly foundation. The high-water mark for the format’s gross sales was in 2012, when 1.336 billion songs had been bought.

RankArtist, TitleSales
1Ed Sheeran, "Perfect"1,300,000
2Drake, "God's Plan"1,056,000
threeBebe Rexha and Florida Georgia Line, "Meant to Be"1,042,000
fourMaroon 5, "Girls Like You"896,000
5Imagine Dragons, "Whatever It Takes"849,000
6Cardi B, Bad Bunny & J Balvin, "I Like It"844,000
7Camila Cabello that includes Young Thug, "Havana"828,000
eightImagine Dragons, "Thunder"772,000
9Zedd, Maren Morris & Grey, "The Middle"753,000
10Drake, "In My Feelings"708,000

Source: Nielsen Music, for the monitoring interval Dec. 29, 2017 by way of Jan. three, 2019.

SHEERAN IS RADIO’S FAVORITE, AGAIN: For the second yr in a row, Sheeran has the most-heard music on the radio. “Perfect” was tops in 2018, with three.988 billion viewers impressions earned. In 2017, Sheeran’s “Shape of You” was the most-heard music, with 5.847 billion impressions.

“Perfect” spent 9 weeks atop Billboard’s all-genre Radio Songs chart and reached No. 1 on the Pop Songs, Adult Pop Songs and Adult Contemporary airplay charts.

RankArtist, TitleAudience Impressions
1Ed Sheeran, "Perfect"three.988 billion
2Bebe Rexha & Florida Georgia Line, "Meant to Be"three.533 billion
threeZedd, Maren Morris & Grey, "The Middle"three.505 billion
fourMaroon 5 that includes Cardi B, "Girls Like You"three.079 billion
5Dua Lipa, "New Rules"2.841 billion
6Camila Cabello that includes Young Thug, "Havana"2.814 billion
7Camila Cabello, "Never Be the Same"2.747 billion
eightDrake, "God's Plan"2.630 billion
9MAX, "Lights Down Low"2.616 billion
10Taylor Swift, "Delicate"2.509 billion

Source: Nielsen Music, for the monitoring interval Dec. 29, 2017 by way of Jan. three, 2019.

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