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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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