After a myriad of setbacks, Kanye West finally unleashed his ninth studio album ‘Jesus Is King’ yesterday (October 25th).
The rapper has long marched to the beat of his own drum, as such the Gospel-flavored set wasn’t preceded by a slew of music videos or a pronounced press run. Instead, it was paired with a short film screened exclusively in IMAX theaters worldwide.
Still, for all the excitement, a cloud of uncertainty hung over the LP’s commercial viability – given how at odds West’s behaviour, utterances, and political affiliations seem to be with his arguable core audience.
Well, it looks as though any doubt has been dispelled. Because the first week sales predictions are here and deliver an emphatic answer.
According to Hits Daily Double, ‘Jesus Is King’ looks set to top the Billboard 200 with the following numbers:
[Sales Plus Streaming]
Impressive, all things considered. Sure it’s a far cry for Kanye’s heyday, but so are sales across the board. These numbers, should they hold, actually represent an upward trend in performance, as they’d best the 208k debut of last year’s ‘Ye’ project.
Digging into the digits, the streaming-to-sales ratio points to a number of interesting points.
The first, and perhaps most apparent, is that Kanye has managed to do what so few veterans have pulled off – which is to be fully in and of the streaming era. Many a solid album have been arriving D.O.A due to a lack of streaming presence in the midst of a shrinking pure sales market.
From our vantage point, West’s savvy play of conjuring up a project of 11 short tracks (most of which average 2 minutes) plays to today’s fast paced consumption patterns and lends itself repeated plays and thus higher streaming points.
What’s more, it seems there is indeed a degree of potency in his drumming up of headlines. Because, despite frequenting the negative end of media reporting (and consequently public opinion), it seems that exact brand of notoriety has created a curiosity that has many (even his fiercest critics) rushing to play his album on streaming services. Which, in today’s marketplace actually helps his cause.
He still has his work cut out for him, though. Because, as ‘Ye’ proved, debuting with high numbers is one feat – sustaining the sales longterm is another. That project capped off around the 500,000 mark domestically after a year and half with almost 50% of its total sales to-date coming from its premiere week. So, in order for ‘Jesus Is King’ to have legs, he’ll need to cultivate a better strategy.
Enough from us, though. What are…