What Do the Drake Sales Numbers Really Mean?

So the first week numbers for Thank Me Later are finally in. According to SoundScan, after a week in stores and digital outlets, Aubrey “Drake” Graham sold a little over 447,000 copies of his debut. So what does that mean? In all simplicity, it means that 447,000 people were so moved by Drake that they got up and purchased a copy of his yearlong-awaited LP.

There really isn’t much more to it.

Did Drake save the hip-hop portion of the music industry? Not exactly, but neither did Wayne and he sold a milli in his first week. It’s not like Tha Carter III started a trend for the artist who dropped after Weezy. I think the bigger problem in hip-hop is how we interact with our favorite artists and the music they put out. I’m not sure if it’s the way that we now consume music through the Internet or that artists are just not making good albums, but it seems like the fans (myself included) treat music as if it’s disposable.

Maybe most of it is.

But I go by the motto, if I like something, I will buy it. I mean $12 is a small price to pay for a great album, right? It was more than worth it for me to cop Only Built For Cuban Linx in 1995, The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory in 1996, The Blueprint in 2001, Graduation in 2007 and Til the Casket Drops in 2009. So why is 2010 any different? Are artists not dropping heat any more or are we just used to downloading music for free?

I’ll admit I downloaded Thank Me Later when it leaked—I had to satisfy the curiosity. I’m also on Universal’s mailing list, so I will probably end up with a promotional copy as well. Still, I felt obligated to go out to Best Buy last Tuesday and actually buy the CD, simply because I enjoyed it. I will do the same for The Roots’ How I Got Over and Eminem’s Recovery. But, as much as my purchases matter, they really don’t make much of a difference at all. The overall business model in the recording industry has changed and the sooner we accept that, the sooner we can get past discussions like this (myself included).

So Drake didn’t do a million his first week. Does that mean he failed? Does that mean that a second album isn’t already a guarantee? Does that mean he won’t tour and sell-out shows all over the country? Of course not. Beyond the numbers, Drake has proven (at least to me) that he is going to be here for a while and that he will enjoy a lengthy and fruitful career. That is, as long as he continues to put out good music.

Drizzy selling a million would’ve been exciting, no doubt. But rather than questioning what Drake sold, I think we should be questioning whether or not we liked the album. I know I did.

Now, I wonder how much Tha Carter IV will do in it’s first week. HA! —Rob Markman, the Deputy!

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  • tommy gunz

    99% of hiphop is disposable to “fans”

    records execs are fully aware of this and 99% of them feel the same way

  • Anonymous

    “In all simplicity, it means that 447,000 people were so moved by Drake that they got up and purchased a copy of his yearlong-awaited LP.”

    Really? Is that what it means? Anyone who thinks 447K isn’t impressive is just plain stupid.

    However, given the promotion, the buzz, the expectation, and what I am sure was a TON of dough spent on behalf of Universal, the sales were underwhelming.

    You’re writing almost looks like you’re making excuses for the sales.

    • Music Fan

      Compared to other recent first week sales, he more than held is on, with even big name acts, let alone freshman acts, such as himself. Numbers don’t lie…

      Drake- 463,000

      Other recent first week sales
      U2, No Line On The Horizon- 484,000
      Jay-Z, The Blueprint III- 476,000
      Maxwell, BLACKsummer’snight- 316,000
      Black Eyed Peas, The E.N.D.- 304,000
      Jonas Brothers, Lines, Vines, And Trying Times- 247,000
      Green Day, 21st Century Breakdown- 215,000
      Rick Ross, Deeper Than Rap- 158,000

      • BD

        “with even big name acts”

        ….and you put Rick Ross on there? you crazy nigga

  • http://Pierzy11@gmail.com Pierzy

    I download almost everything and then, if I really think the album is top notch, or I feel that I need to support the artist, then I’ll buy the album. I’ve bought 4 albums in the past 3 years: “Slaughterhouse,” “Cuban Linx II,” “The Salvation,” and “Recovery.”

    Yes, in 1995, an artist with the hype of Drake would have sold crazy numbers. But it’s 2010 and we all need to realize that. Look at Em – he’s broken the 1 million in a week mark twice in his career but that was years ago…for as well as “Recovery” will sell, I doubt it’ll go plat first week. It’s a different business model these days.

    • General

      Couldn’t agree more with what your saying Pierzy about sales these days. It is a different business model and the record companies are well aware of this which is why you have the 360 deals now, because labels know that they aren’t going to make huge profits off the sale of the record itself…

      Going gold with a CD these days is like what going platinum used to be and maybe even better than what platinum used to be…

      I think when you look at outside of Em’s last CD nobody has done the first week numbers Drake did in the last 2 years and I’m sure the label is probably pretty happy with that

    • Wallman

      Cuban linx II? Really? I thought that was incredibly boring… Hah, although I’ve never been a Wu-head either.

  • jo jo that boy

    this cd is an r&b cd. maybe if there was a few decent tracks id cop. but no its not real rap

    • La Familia

      WORD! This album has a couple aight hip hop songs, But it’s only good for getting busy with ladies. I prefer hardcore rap maybe that’s why. Ni99as I fucks with won’t be buying this album anytime soon. Drake needs to make up his mind. Does he want to Rap or sing R&B.

      • therealwayno

        LOL@ it’s only good for getting busy with ladies.

        Yeah that’s unfortunate only if you don’t plan on getting busy (with ladies) too often.

        LOL@ Ni99as I fucks with won’t be buying this album anytime soon.

        Drake made a Drake album. Appeal to the ladies and to the dudes who trying to get down with the ladies.

        It’s plenty of hardcore rap out here. Cop anything Sean Price ever made for instance.

        • WTF?

          Does that mean you weren’t gettin busy with the ladies until Drake dropped?

      • D

        both you fucking idiot

  • El Tico Loco

    People keep disrespecting “old” rappers but no one has improved much less matched their accomplishments, not even with the extra push they’ve been getting, even with how I feel about Drake’s music, I expected better numbers considering the whole marketing and oversaturation. Lil Wayne sold a milli his first week for 3 reasons 1. The Carter II 2. The Dedication series 3. the Drought series.

    • El Tico Loco

      In other words TC3 was successful based on Lil Wayne’s past projects not buzz alone althought it helped that he went for the streets first, then the club, then the ladies, the songs on TC3 would’ve made for a terrible debut album without that.

  • Axeo

    More then anything I think i’ve learned cd sales predictions are usually a bunch of bullshit and this site should stop posting them

    On to drake.Its a win win for hip-hop.Most albums been selling like 100k or less first week then go down to 10k a week. No.1 on billboard thats a win. I’ve had my criticism of drake but respect given when it earned.

    Also tired of people saying he RnB if we gonna label him one then he is horrible at least compared to those who actually control their pitch tone and everything else that goes into singing. He is a rapper who happens to sing a lot end of story.

  • swype-matic

    That’s good for this state of hip hop, but I still think just as Bun B say, somebody dropped the ball, plus, I this Drake pigeon-holed himself by not figuring out who he wanted to be. A rapper? A singer? Idk, I guess he doesn’t have as many fans (or drones) as Lil’ Wayne.

  • Truth

    He would have sold 750K if he had a big crossover single, but he didn’t. Good songs, but not even a “Best I Ever Had”. When he put “Over” out as the big first single, it was the first time Drizzy misjudged his audience. Tried to make a graduation song, a ladies song, and a battle rap all in one.

    • WTF?

      The whole album is mostly crossover singles wtf you tombout?

  • http://jamal7mile.blogspot.com Jamal7Mile

    If Lil Wayne was out to help push the album (do his job) Drake’s numbers probably would’ve been greater. Not a fan of anyone in that camp but I don’t HATE those cats either. They have to cut the sideshow b.s. and get down to running the business called Young Money. No more contact with the police, no more contact with Katt Stacks. Just cut all of that extra fat out! If they can accomplish that, Drake just might sell more on the next album…provided that it’s good music.

    • swype-matic

      Hell, if Young Money cut out all the fat and b.s., they’d only be left with Wayne, Drake, and Nicki Minaj…you know what, that’s probably a good idea, cause when (or if) Gudda Gudda, Jae Millz, and Mack Maine release albums, they hittin’ bricks on (off) the charts.

  • El Tico Loco

    What’s the point of putting out albums using a formulaic approach, when you get the same results of an artist that do what they feel in their heart when they get in the booth?

  • t

    end of story……………….HE’S A SINGER WHO HAPPENS TO TRY RAPPING!

  • http://www.bboycult.com $yk

    Ya might as well stick a pin in this argument, because the true story of sales #’s in 2010 will be what will Em sell out the gate, and what number of realistic units will Drake continue to sell as the weeks go by (will it hold up like BEP’s album).

    People’s projects will ride or die off of this info, believe this.

    • http://jamal7mile.blogspot.com Jamal7Mile

      What’s up $yk?

      BEP continues to amaze me! Someone up above said they did 304K the first week, and I heard somewhere else that they are close to 2.5 x platinum. Huh??? Nope, I didn’t buy ‘The END’ but whatever they are doing, they’re doing it well!

      It just doesn’t compute for me, unless they’re picking up new fans on a weekly basis from concerts, etc.

      Was the album THAT good? Or is the stage show banging? Both?

      • http://www.bboycult.com $yk

        I haven’t listened to the album either. I heard ‘Imma Be’ at a wedding this weekend for the 1st time.

        Ya gotta listen to the whole song, then it will explain how they’re still on the charts and doing World Cup performances. Them cats are smashing the music.

        And that dead prez/DJ Drama mixtape is fire.

        • http://jamal7mile.blogspot.com Jamal7Mile

          “And that dead prez/DJ Drama mixtape is fire.”

          Aw snap! Thanks for the reminder! Just snatched it off HHDX.

        • capcobra

          black eyed peas is one of the few that would’ve been tuff during any decade in hip hop..and i think that’s why they’re so successful..not to mention thier singles and stageshow…and that dead prez mixtape is crazy…i bugged out off “battlefield”.

  • http://myspace.com/kidpistol Kid Pistol

    Co-sign @ all the comments that are speaking on TML as an R&B album. That’s what it really is. Singing on every damn song, with a few hip-hop joints on it. If I was anticipating the album from a different standpoint (hoping it would be a dope RnB album), I would think it was hot. In this case, I was disappointed with the album. B.O.B. is much better at everything he does, and deserves Drake’s limelight.

  • capcobra

    real fans don’t give a f^^k how much an album sells…we just want to know if it’s hot or not…bottomline…nobody cares how much eminem is gonna sell next week or how much drake sold this week…let the check signers worry about that..we wasn’t counting how many albums kane/gangstarr/tribe/nwa or whoever sold..we was in the barbershop or record store or in the hood arguing about if it’s hot or not…nobody was counting the illmatic/ready to die/reasonable doubt/southernplayalistic/purple tape numbers..either you purchased it or you didn’t…real simple..it’s nothing to brag about or debate about or talk about…vanilla ice sold way more records than epmd…and what does that mean?….NOTHING….except xxl need to stop with the 1st week sales shit and let billboard write that story.

  • Q461

    Cats are mad ignorant… we talk about FIRST week sales…but what about how it sells over time? There is a possibility he will sell alot more records, and going almost gold in the first week in tis climate is fuckin impressive.

    Drake is real hip-hop, so what that he sings too???and makes tracks for both men and women. So is LL cool J not hip-hop cause he made alot of songs for the women?

    Also, you gotta think about this: If Drake dropped alot sooner and really capitalized off his buzz and included hits like Best I ever had and Forever on the album, he very well may have went platinum his first week, or close to it. It’s a different game these days.

    • swype-matic

      That is true about Drake’s buzz. To me, it seemed like they waited a good 6 to 8 moths too late to drop his album

  • KingP

    I can’t believe you actually bit YN’s ha.

  • ff1one@yahoo.com

    First week sales are like making the playoffs and getting the top seed. Tru, you should get praised for making the playoofs and getting the top seed BUT its tonly the beginning. Those numbers are great for a rookie who built his buzz of a mixtape who has had a ton of pressure on him since last nov/dec. Since then he has been delivering. Numbers don’t lie, atleast thats wat the greatest rapper of all time said and they don’t. the numbers show that the average hip hop fan bought the album. My test to see if a album is fire is to go to the nicest strip in your city, turn your radio off, and see what’s being played in everybody eles whip. Drake has a following. For Drake, these are good numbers. He may not get the number one seed this year BUT he’s in the game.

    EM’s numbers won’t say how good his album is. Em has dedicated fans. Similar too a bad team like the KNICKS who still continue to pack MSG despite a the worst product in the league. Its funny that people say DRAKE sings on every song, WELL EM is singing from the intro and beyond. He also features two POP STARS. Drake’s album is just for his fan base, which is the ladies. I personally love ladies so i bump it in my ride…for the ladies. It doesn’t have any just grimy rap songs BUT it does has some great lines.

    Numbers don’t lie BUT the mass can look over great albums. Such as, OB4CL II. the numbers that album did shows just how terrible hip hop fans are. Alot has to do with the internet. However, most of the blame lies on these liars claiming they won’thip hop. These same cats who want it but won’t go out to buy it.

  • StraightSlaps

    Its a big disappointment for the label but Drake was all hype. I think the album sucked. There are 5 good songs out of 14 so 447k in a week is good. But with all the promotion that was behind him it will be a big ego blow. But he is still writing for other artists so he will be ok. To anybody who says the cd was good STOP NUT RIDING. I think the production could have been better even though the production suits him. All the slow songs were weak even the kanye produced song. Some of the lyrics could have been better but he did have good hooks as usual. I would give him 3 out of 5 stars. Fireworks is fire best song on the album, Karaoke weak, the resistance i could listen to it on a long trip, over weak but the hook is sick, Show Me A Good time could ride to it but a sound in the production is annoying like the piano in the beat, Up All Night is a good song, Fancy weak Swizz Beatz Missed on the production, Shut It Down another weak song with weak production, Unforgettable great song Nice to get Jeezy on the track, stole my sample though, Light Up great hook and Jay-z killed it, Miss me is cold too great production verses and hook, Cece’s Interlude wack as hell, Find Your Love Wack, and Thank Me Now i can ride to it on a long trip or cleaning the house.

    • HaHaHaHaHa

      ^^Lowkey Drake Fan Like Shit ^^

    • amprmuzik

      k i see wat u sayin. but understand that the album is still hot. you cant lock him in a box as just hiphop. i think i aint sell cuz of the leak and because it was more catered to the females. but i bought a copy and its a good cd. listen to the actuallly lyrics. wat people dont realize is drakes showed he can hold his own wit todays vets or top sellers if thats wat u wanna call it. so as a whole bein a guy that loves music. the cd was great. and no i aint on his nuts but sayin it aint good just cuz it aint wat u wanted is completely different. i think it would of been better if it was more hiphop but the majority of his fan base is females. but understand it got leaked. the internet is all ova and u kno if u from a spot like where im from niggas downloaded the shit and burned it and been sellin it. so those aint actually numbers. bootleggin been around for years so thats my point. if somebody gives u a charger for free are u gonna pay for it just to help dodge. NO. and honestly drake i think did better than jayz on light up. and im a huge jay fan but listen to lyrics. on paper if u read both they lyrics tell me who got the better verse. but bottomline it could of been better but y cater to the fellas that aint gon buy it anyway. niggas hate for no reason and yea i spit myself. so ima give credit where its do. if u a rookie and u on a track wit jay or ti or kanye or em or established artist and u can hold yo own. thats good shit. and last thing. real talk the track wit ti and jeezy. drake verse was better. not his voice or shit like that. but listen to lyrics. on paper he did

  • http://www.yahho.com Dr@$t-iQ Alkoholik

    didnt this jew fruit say he was gon do a mill first week but on the reals it’s gon tke him atleast 4 weeks to go plat, plus it’ just goes to show how stupid niggaz is just coz you sucking the dick of a nigga that did a mill first week dont mean you gon do a mill first week too, feel pity for Minaj coz if this fruit could only do 477k after all that hype the bitch gon only do maybe 210k when she drop,hola

  • TasMoney

    drake damn near shipping gold his first week in these days of hip hop is damn good. and i am not a fan of his,but i give props where they are due. he has good music whether you wanna label him a rapper or a singer,people love it.does his first week numbers make a difference? no,because theres really no way to forcast his future sales. he could do 463K this week,then that could drop the next.will it?hell yea,but he will acheive platinum status overtime. the same elements that helped BEP(crazy shows and sold out venues)will push him over the top.not to mention that good old universal machine.as far as eminem goes, we know hes gonna sell and hes gonna do well(by CURRENT music industry standards,not those of his inception to hip hop).definitely more than relapse because he is tapping back into the marshall mathers that we all love.i do have to co-sign wit my man up above and thats the fact that the fans dont care about ya sales,we wanna know if it is hot. but before i spend my money and decide that your work is worth me spending my money,there will be a free download test run.of you pass,ill jump on tha 1,hit up best buy and add to your revenue. if not,your files are deleted and forgot about.

  • http://www.adamstrife.com Adam Strife

    Its really simple. THE INDUSTRY HAS CHANGED. Yes, music has become disposable BECAUSE artist drop albums too fast. They are also putting out mixtape albums ever 3 to 4 months. With material coming out at that rate from the top 10 artists alone the quality is going to drop. Lets be honest we have all lowered the bar for our quality expectations. We the fans are to blame. Remember, these artist do what the label tell them. The label tells them to do what they think you like. If you support or encourage trash because its all thats there you will indeed get more of the same.

    • http://thisismarlow.blogspot.com MarloW.

      I Agree Niggas Is Puttin Out Too Many Mixtapes Over-saturating The Market Without Even Knowing It

  • ????

    Only A Few Of You On Here Actually Bought Em’s Album So Dont Bullshit Like Yall Just Buy Every Album Yall Feel “Deserves” It Em Is Gonna Always Sell That Much Based Off The Fact That He Has The Entire White Fan Base Buying His CD, It Has Nothin To Do With The Music (Anymore) He Could Literally Sell A Blank Disc (No Pun Intended) So Please Stop With The Comparisons Because Em Could Drop The Same Album As Drake’s And Sell More And Be Hailed As The Greatest Of All Time Still So Plz Stop The Dick-Riding Damnit, Yall Niggas Dick-Rode Relapse And Even He Admitted It Wasnt A Good Effort

    • swype-matic

      I have every eminem album, Encore and Relapse were both wack with 3 to 4 decent/good songs at the most.

  • gaza mi seh

    I don’t think we’ll ever see the type of trend you’re referring to ever again. The honeymoon period is over for rap music. You can’t really make generalized statements about this genre anymore.

    Consumers are far more discerning than they were in 1998 when any No Limit soldier could go platinum just on the strength of a Master P co-sign.

    I think the fans are more discerning for two primary reasons:

    1) The internet- As stated above, anyone can preview an album before they buy it these days. So nobody gets duped into buying shit they don’t like anymore.

    2) Blackness on its own isn’t enough to be cool or special anymore. All that can be said about the “hood” has been said. White people’s fascination with urban culture just isn’t that strong anymore. (don’t get me wrong, the fascination/curiosity still exists) The internet has also contributed to this – the world is smaller. There’s less mystery…familiarity breeds contempt, or in this case, indifference.

    Conclusion: This level of prudence by the fans will ensure that only music considered truly great/different (see: Lil Wayne, Drake, Kanye, etc) by the masses will sell..and it will sell well. The other artists, the Silk the Shokkers of today, will continue to be unsuccessful.

    There is no rap middle-class anymore. Either your will do very well or you will do terribly.

    That said, I expected Drake to do at least 800,000.

  • Anonymous


  • ff1one@yahoo.com

    As ceelo has said, if i reach one i’ve already won. or if you reach 50,000 atleast 50,000 minds are blown. its not about sales its bout reaching your fan base and keepin it real and doin it trill as you do it.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah I bet none of them do it for the money huh?gtfoh.they are in it to make money doin what they love,they dont care as much about you as you think.

  • MTV

    Everyday a star is born. Please don’t clap for him, wheel chair Jimmy didn’t even put out 800,000 in the first week, lets see what YE do with it.

    • JC

      @ MTV

      Wheelchair Jimmy outsold Kanye West’s The College Dropout first week sales…so the next time you mention Wheelchair Jimmy, mention this…

      Thank Me Later – 447,000
      The College Dropout – 441,000
      The Slim Shady LP – 283,000

      and remember, Wheelchair Jimmy came out in 2010, when albums don’t sell NEARLY as well as they did in 2004 and 1999…so give it up for Wheelchair Jimmy…oh, and Wheelchair Jimmy has this to say to you…

      “Call me overrated or created or too jaded because any way you put it bitch, I made it!”

      LOL :)

  • http://www.yahoo.com Dr@$t-iQ Alkoholik

    you dumb fuck JC wheel chair Jimmy had 10x more hype than em niggaz lets not forget, if they had the same amount of hype he had they woulda pushed a mill + first week this nigga is overrated, he a gimmick and he aint gon last long this album might go plat after a while but dont expect his second album to do the same, he gon be a gold-selling rapper at best, and lastly he didn’t do a milli in Canada, because platinum in Canada is 100k,faggots

  • JC


    you can’t predict the future MISS CLEO…lol…go SIT DOWN somewhere!

  • http://www.justice.gov.za Chiliz

    Nobody has done the first week numbers in the last 2 years.Drake could ‘ve gone plat if he lived up 2 tha hype but his 1st attempt was’nt classic……..hence the numbers.

    J.Cole might b what hip-hop been waiting 4 a hip-hop saviour….hope he can carry the torch.

  • BoogaTheBanger

    ……. hip hop is not waiting on j. cole… at all sir… sorry….

    …. do any of ya’ll listen to Blu? he reminds me of J. Cole’s cooler older brother who smokes weed and doesn’t try to do what all the “rappers” are doing…..

    drakes album was disappointing to me…. fireworks succ’d….. karaoke succ’d…. the resistance is the truth IMO…. Up all Night is a good song…. but i really wish every song was like Miss Me…. that shit banged the fucc outta everything else…. drake’s buzz was poorly capitalized off of… just like it was pointless to put Oj da Juiceman on this years freshman list.. when everyone knows he was so 08…. fucc’n succers…. i honestly dont buy nobody’s shit… i think the last album i bought was Lupe’s first album…. and maybe luda’s release therapy…. which was pointless…. Drake definitely needs to rap more on his albums… i actually liked Shut It Down though… its a good.. fucc’n song…and i mean that literally….

    and honestly… i haven’t felt the need to listen to Eminem since the Eminem show…. cuz he’s always on that bullshit…. eminem is hip hop for white people… just like the rhymesayers…. minus doom… and ali

    • StraightSlaps

      I listen to blu and below the heavens is a classic. If you dont have it get it.

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