There are some artists that are around for a while, without ever being a major selling force, who suddenly just happen to become one. Drake is one of those artist.
After having spent his younger years acting in the Canadian TV series Degrassi, Drake jumped into the typical route, that many rapper do.
He began independently releasing mixtapes, an EP and then ultimately signing with a major label, which happened in 2009, after the success of his mixtape So Far Gone earlier that year.
The Canadian artist is well known for being basketball team Toronto Raptors, number one fan. Ironically, Drake followed exactly the same path as the current star of the team, DeMar DeRozan.
A mere four days before signing for the Young Money label, owned by Lil Wayne, DeMar DeRozan was drafted by the Raptors. In the same way that DeRozan became big inside the NBA in 2010, going from 8 to 17 points per game, Drake went from a Gold EP in the US, to his first Platinum album Thank Me Later, in 2010.
From 2011 to 2015 DeRozan kept growing slowly until reaching All-Star status. From 2011 to 2015, the success of Drake remained consistent too.
At the start of the 2016 season, the Toronto shooting Guard stepped up strongly, with a 34 point average over the first 7 games. This was also the year of Drake‘s definitive breakthrough, with his Views album adding a new dimension to his career, by breaking out on a worldwide scale.
What we believe to be true about an artist success, is not always translated into numbers though. While we have PER – Player Efficiency Rating – for basketball players, we had no valid indicator to accurately rate music stars.
That was until, we here at ChartMasters introduced to you the Commensurate Sales to Popularity Concept! Let’s us now apply it to the subject of today, Drake!
As usual, I’ll be using the CSPC in order to relevantly gauge his results. This concept will not only bring you sales information for all of Drake‘s albums, physical and download singles and audio and video streaming, but it will also determine his true popularity.
If you are not yet familiar with the CSPC method, below is a succinct video to explain it. I fully recommend watching it before getting into the sales figures. Of course, if you are a regular visitor, feel free to skip the video and get into the numbers directly.
The Commensurate Sales to Popularity Concept (CSPC)
There are two ways to understand this revolutionary concept. The first is the Scribe video posted below. If you are unaware of the CSPC method, you will get the full idea within just a few minutes.
If you are a mathematical person, and want to know the full method as well as formulas, you can read the full introduction article.
Now let’s get into the artist’s sales figures in detail in order to apply this concept and define the act’s true popularity!
Drake Album Sales
Original Album Sales – Comments
At nearly 15.5 million units sold across five studio albums, one playlist and four mixtapes, that we will be considering as valid albums as per their length, sales of Drake studio albums aren’t the most impressive we’ve met so far.
Maybe even more negative is how Views is far from being utterly bigger than his past albums, in fact it sold even easily less than Take Care and the same amount of copies than both Thank Me Later and Nothing Was the Same.
In the same line, Scorpion sold significantly less than Views, with the most recent mixtape Dark Lane Demo Tapes selling next to nothing.
This latter release along with More Life got no physical release at all though, which shows the artist and his label are betting their money elsewhere.
In fact, our CSPC analysis made us understand that we may not jump into conclusions too fast though.
To judge Drake‘s album sales, one needs to consider he sold almost exclusively in North America up to Views. A pure urban artist, he managed to cross over the general audience thanks to this effort that opened him the door of many countries he hadn’t explore before.
Selling routinely 2,5 million units of his studio LPs to this restricted audience is already way more impressive. His mixtapes sales are just superb since this format is usually fully ignored by the public.
If results viewed that way are great, it is still not the main fort of Drake as we are going to see below.
Drake songs sales
As a reminder, the weighting is done with a 10 to 3 ratio between one album and one physical single.
As many of you may expect, Drake never stepped into the physical singles market, hardly selling anything in this format.
By his debut in 2009, the US market was dead for 7 years. Now that he broke German or French markets in 2016, the physical market has been dead there for some years too.
As for most artist a few collectors came out still with mostly irrelevant numbers.
As a reminder, the weighting is done with a 10 to 1,5 ratio between one album and one digital single.
From 2009 to 2011, Drake had no global hit. His success in the US was undoubtable though and moderate to great hits got accumulated at an incredible speed.
His breakthrough hit was Best I Ever Had, which back then also enjoyed a decent ringtones market. It’s up to over 5 million sales to date.
Then, his first two LPs generated 10 million selling songs and all their album tracks did well too.
The Motto and Take Care are past 4 million sales, while Over, Find Your Love and Headlines are around 3 million a piece.
Take Care album is home for total download sales of more than 20 million singles, worth 3 million equivalent album sales.
This intermediate period wasn’t well structured around one specific album.
By 2013, Drake had already understood that the concept of the album itself was dying. As a result, he started dropping mixtapes at fast pace, plus tons of collaborations that are listed at the bottom of the list.
Hold On, We’re Going Home is the biggest hit of that period extracted from those studio albums, it moved 4.6 million units.
Both 2015 mixtapes got good hits in the US but with more modest numbers elsewhere. The strongest was Jumpman at 1.7 million.
In 2016, the singer exploded globally thanks to songs Hotline Bling and One Dance. It may come as a surprise to see that they only sold 4 million units each.
The collapse of downloads in favor to streams limited their impact.
In the same vain, God’s Plan has been a monster #1 smash in many places, but downloads were ever weaker by 2018. It’s up to 1.75 million. Both Nice for What and In My Feelings were huge hits as well.
As previously mentioned, Drake issued tons of stand alone tracks while also featuring on many hits.
Forever, Bedrock and What’s My Name sold over 6 million each.
Work, F**kin’ Problems, Right Above It and Moment 4 Life all top 3 million.
On top of that, 17 more orphan songs are million sellers.
It reflects something crucial here, more than sales of a unique track, the key element is the unreal volume of Drake‘s catalog. It may seem easy to participate in hundreds of songs, but to do it without losing momentum is insane.
At the end of the day, the Canadian superstar has sold a tremendous total of 169 million units of downloads and ringtones.
This figure may seem unreal considering his top singles are around 6 million units. As mentioned, his consistency and his activity over many years have been unmatched.
In fact, Drake is already and far and away the artist with the most entries in the US Hot 100 Singes Chart. He took that incredible distinction when he reached 126 charting hits in August 2016 – a mere seven years after his debut. He went on to increase this record to 234 charting hits so far.
Streaming is made up of audio and video streams. Our CSPC methodology now includes both to better reflect the real popularity of each track. The main source of data for each avenue is respectively Spotify and YouTube.
To factor in the growing impact of multiple Asian countries where these platforms aren’t always the go-to site for music streaming, more sources have been added.
In order to account for their real popularity in each relevant country, the below sources have been used along with the mentioned ratios that reflect the market share of each area.
– South Korea : Genie streams * 3.05 (consistent with Gaon streaming numbers)
– Japan : AWA streams * 100/5.5 (AWA has 5.5% of the Japanese streaming market)– Elsewhere : Spotify streams * (370 – 8.5 – 9.5 – 33 – 9) / 207 (370 million global subscribers minus 8.5 million from South Korea minus 9.5 million from Japan minus 33 million from China divided by the number of Spotify only users minus 9 million more Asian users) + Genie streams * 3.05 (uses Genie rather than Spotify to extrapolate markets like Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam)
Video Streams– China* : QQ video streams * 50 if the song is available for audio stream, QQ video streams * 5 elseway (scale built based on known figures for several major artists)– Elsewhere : Youtube views
*since 96.4% of Chinese streaming platforms are free users, that paid-for users pay less than $2 a month and that they are also used as video streaming platforms, their streams are weighted on par with YouTube streams.
Audio Stream value – 1500 plays equal 1 album unit
Video Stream value – 11,750 views equal 1 album unit
Equivalent Albums Sales (EAS) = ( Spotify * 310/207 + Genie * 3.05*2 + AWA * 100/5.5 ) / 1500 + ( QQ views* 50(or 5) + YouTube ) / 11750
To make it simple, each of these 40 songs would be the signature song of most artists. The streaming success of Drake is out of this world.
One Dance, blocked for long on YouTube, is now over 2 billion Spotify streams. It’s one of the rare songs which has been the most streamed of all-time on the platform at some point, since being dislodged by Ed Sheeran‘s Shape of You.
God’s Plan is ever closer, itself at almost 2 million EAS from streams. This one enjoyed a full availablility on YouTube where it recorded over 1.5 billion views.
Two features follow, Sicko Mode led by Travis Scott and Work by Rihanna.
In My feelings, Hotline Bling, Bad Bunny‘s MIA, Future duet Life Is Good are more monster performaners, each with more than a million EAS.
While Dark Lane Demo Tapes was supposed to be a minor mixtape, the 2020 track Toosie Slide posts incredible numbers as well with 759 million streams on Spotify. It shows that the artist strength remains huge.
It’s indeed not possible to isolate a period of success or an artist with who Drake performs better.
The hip-hop icon has massive tracks from all his releases, and no matter if he pairs with Lil Wayne, Future, Rihanna, DJ Khaled, Meek Mill, Chris Brown, etc., he smashes.
Full catalog breakdown
If you are familiar with the artist’s catalog and want to check details of each and every song, you can access to all of them right here.
Keep yourself up to date
Our website provides you a fantastic tool which fetches updated Spotify streams as you request them, use it to watch these results grow day after day!
Drake compilations sales
Compilations sales figures listing
Full Length related records Sales – Summary
As most of Drake EPs and mixtapes are made of tracks unreleased in his studio albums, their sales are mainly allocated to the orphan folder.
Total Album (all types) Sales per Country
Please note that some of the countries totals may be slightly incomplete when the figure is N/A for minor releases.
Drake Career CSPC Results
So, after checking all the figures, how many overall equivalent album sales has each Drake album achieved? Well, at this point we hardly need to add up all of the figures defined in this article!
Albums CSPC results
In the following table, all categories display figures that way, e.g. in equivalent album sales. For example, Take Care singles released in digital format sold the equivalent of 3,071,000 albums – 20,470,000 downloads with a 10 to 1,5 weighting.
As a reminder:
- Studio Album: sales of the original album
- Other Releases: sales of compilations generated thanks to the album
- Physical Singles: sales of physical singles from the album (ratio 3/10)
- Download Singles: sales of digital singles from the album (ratio 1,5/10)
- Streaming: equivalent album sales of all the album tracks (ratio 1/1500 for Audio stream and 1/11750 for Video stream)
This is it ! If pure album sales aren’t enough to validate the fact that Views is Drake biggest album to date, this turns out to be very clear after adding in all pieces of the jigsaw. Up to 11.55 million, the album is one of the biggest releases in recent years.
Scorpion has been a tremendous beast as well, now over 9 million, just like Take Care. Both albums won’t last too long before hitting 10 million.
While his entire discography has been impressively consistent since his debut, that he grew a lot during later years is obvious when we notice If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late mixtape is as big as his first LP Thank Me Later.
His first 9 albums / mixtapes comfortably top 2.5 million equivalent album sales, a very strong feat considering he drops one every year. Dark Lane Demo Tapes will ultimately get there as well in spite of his minor profile.
His Orphan Album total too is utterly massive at 39.7 million. Getting Drake on a track is like striking gold.
Out of all sales figures, the most striking one is that Drake has now sold 100.26 million equivalent album units through all formats.
What’s more than insane is how all albums and physical singles formats only add for 15,57% of his combined total. Drake‘s download singles sales and streams are worth 84.65 million equivalent album units, a figure that keeps on growing incredibly every day.
How much is he increasing? He scores organically 18 million Spotify streams per day with his lead songs alone. With features, this equals to well over 150,000 album sales every week thanks to streams alone.
Singles CSPC results
The list is compiled in album equivalent sales generated by each song. Therefore, these figures are not merged units of singles formats. Instead, it includes weighted sales of the song’s physical single, download, ringtone and streaming as well as its share among sales of all albums on which it is featured.
1. 2016 – Drake ft. Wizkid & Kyla – One Dance [Views] – 3,490,000
2. 2018 – Drake – God’s Plan [Scorpion] – 2,320,000
3. 2016 – Drake – Hotline Bling [Views] – 2,130,000
4. 2013 – Drake ft. Majid Jordan – Hold On, We’re Going Home [Nothing Was the Same] – 1,910,000
5. 2016 – Rihanna ft. Drake – Work [Orphan] – 1,840,000
6. 2018 – Travis Scott ft. Drake – Sicko Mode [Orphan] – 1,770,000
7. 2009 – Drake – Best I Ever Had [So Far Gone] – 1,590,000
8. 2018 – Drake – In My Feelings [Scorpion] – 1,500,000
9. 2011 – Drake ft. Rihanna – Take Care [Take Care] – 1,490,000
10. 2009 – Drake, Kanye West, Lil Wayne & Eminem – Forever [Orphan] – 1,430,000
11. 2011 – Drake ft. Lil Wayne – The Motto [Take Care] – 1,390,000
12. 2016 – Drake ft. Rihanna – Too Good [Views] – 1,370,000
If you feel inspired by this list, we just created this CSPC Drake playlist on Spotify!
Thanks to our new ASR (Artist Success Rating) concept, we know that his sales represent 7.84 million times the purchase of her entire discography. Coupled with his total sales, it translates into an ASR score of 159.
The ranking of all artists studied so far is available too at this link.
Records & Achievements
- Drake is the most streamed artist ever at Spotify with 56.3 billion streams.
- Drake has the most ever songs over 100 million streams at Spotify with 147.
- With 10.2 million albums sold in the US in the 10s, Drake is the second best selling male artist of the decade behind Justin Bieber.
- At 11,547,000 EAS, Views is the most successful album from 2016.
- Drake charted inside the US Hot 100 for a record 431 weeks in a row, a streak that lasted from May 23 2009 to August 26 2017.
- Drake amassed 234 Hot 100 hits, the highest tally ever.
- Drake holds the record of the most simultaneous hits charted inside the Hot 100 with 24 on April 8 2017.
- Drake holds the record of the longest run inside the Hot 100 Top 10 by a male solo artist with 51. He is third overall behind Katy Perry (69) and the Chainsmokers (61).
- On december 12, 2016, One Dance was the first song ever to hit 1 billion streams on Spotify.
You may be interested in…
… best-selling artists, albums, and singles
To improve your navigation we created several amazing cross-artists lists posted inside the CSPC: Data Collector article. Click on it to see the full listing of all CSPC results compiled so far!
… similar artists
To put figures from this article into perspective, click on the images below to reach career breakdowns of similar artists:
As usual, feel free to comment and / or ask a question!