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Hip-Hop and R&B Fans Embrace Streaming Music Services

Future and Drake’s new album opened at No. 1 this week by a wide margin, an example of the popularity of streaming music services among hip-hop listeners.
Future and Drake on stage
On this week’s music charts, “What a Time to Be Alive,” a new mix tape by the star rappers Drake and Future, opened at No. 1 by a wide margin, it was announced on Monday — a victory for Apple, which had an exclusive deal to release the album first.
But the album’s success is also the latest example of the extraordinary popularity of hip-hop on streaming music services.
Throughout 2015, on outlets like Spotify, Rhapsody and Apple Music, releases by hip-hop and rhythm-and-blues acts including Drake, Kendrick Lamar, ASAP Rocky and the Weeknd have consistently posted far higher numbers than those in other genres.
Those results reflect a banner year for hip-hop and R&B music, with a crop of acclaimed albums and a generation of influential stars. But music executives say they are also an indication of the way that listeners consume music these days, with hip-hop’s younger, mobile-connected audience leading a shift away from downloads.
Songs from “What a Time to Be Alive,” which came out Sept. 20, were streamed 40.3 million times around the world in its first week, including 35.1 million times in the United States, according to Apple.
Earlier this year, Drake’s “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late” was streamed 48 million times in one week, according to Nielsen. Mr. Lamar’s “To Pimp a Butterfly” opened with 38 million and the Weeknd’s “Beauty Behind the Madness” started with 57 million one week and 52 million the next.
The question is how can Nigerian musicians benefit from this where there is no regulator, truthful enough to account  for the real number of times a song is streamed.


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