West album hits No.1, fuelled largely by streaming
RAPPER Kanye West made history on Sunday as the creator of the first album to reach No. 1 in the United States mostly through streaming.
The feat is the latest turn in a highly unusual release for album The Life Of Pablo, which the brash rap star debuted at a fashion show at New York's Madison Square Garden and initially distributed through only the Tidal streaming service.
But the album earlier this month became available on rival sites such as Spotify, bringing in so many streams that The Life Of Pablo appeared not only for the first time on the benchmark Billboard chart - nearly two months after its release - but also opened at No. 1.
Tracking service Nielsen said the album sold the equivalent of 94,000 copies in the week until Thursday, 70 per cent from streaming - the fast-growing sector of unlimited, on-demand music online.
West far exceeds the previous record for the level of streaming behind a No. 1 album - set recently by Rihanna, with streaming accounting for nearly a third of the sales of her album, Anti.
In the week until Thursday, Nielsen Music said songs off The Life Of Pablo were streamed in the US some 99 million times.
West still does not sell the album on CD, vinyl or Apple's iTunes - a rare commercial move even amid the growth of streaming.
But he has made it available for download purchase both through Tidal and his own website, accounting for non-streaming sales in the past week.
It is the seventh No. 1 album for West.
Breaking the traditional concept of an album release, he kept fine-tuning The Life Of Pablo even after it first went live on Tidal.