ITunes Technology

Kanye West album The Life of Pablo becomes first platinum streaming hit


By John Glenday, Reporter

April 5, 2017 | 2 min read

Musician Kanye West has become the first artist to go platinum thanks solely to its streaming prowess.

The Life of Pablo, West’s latest album, has racked up 1.5 billion streams in the US, elevating the rapper to the upper echelons of the music fraternity and putting him in the history books to boot as the first artist to hit the mark without the need to include paid downloads.

Album’s typically have to sell 1 million copies before they can be declared to have gone platinum but under rules laid down in RIAA guidelines artists need to rack up 150 streams to count as a single download, and 10 downloads equate to one album download.

This raises the bar significantly for artists seeking the prestige of platinum but reliant on streaming with a hefty 1.5 billion streams required to meet the requirement for platinum certification.

West’s task was made all the harder as he opted not to issue retail or downloadable copies of the album, opting instead to restrict it to streaming-only platforms such as Tidal, Spotify and Apple Music.

Die-hard fans were able to purchase and download a copy from West’s own website, but sales were marginal.

When West debuted the Life of Pablo it sparked a three-fold surge in UK Android users of Tidal.

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