Entertainer Aubrey Drake Graham known as Drake speaks during the Apple World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Monday, June 8, 2015. Apple Inc., the maker of iPhones and iPads, will introduce software improvements for its computer and mobile devices as well as reveal new updates, including the introduction of a revamped streaming music service.
Photograph by David Paul Morris — Bloomberg/Getty Images
By Don Reisinger
May 9, 2016

It turns out that Drake’s relationship with Apple is going quite well.

The hip-hop musician sold 632,000 copies of his new album, Views, during its first 24 hours of availability in Apple’s iTunes store, The Wall Street Journal reported. Over the first five days on sale, Drake sold more than 1 million albums through iTunes while Apple Music users streamed the album more than 250 million times, according to the article.

Drake has been one of the more prominent musicians to endorse Apple Music over the years. Last year, he served as an onstage spokesman at Apple’s (AAPL) Worldwide Developers Conference when the company unveiled Apple Music. Since then, he has aired radio shows on Apple Music’s Beats 1 radio station and let Apple use his tracks in several Apple Music ads.

The Apple Music promotion is part of a broader deal Drake is said to have signed with Apple last year for $19 million. The deal included him promoting Apple Music and apparently some exclusivity that includes his work with Beats 1 and his decision to initially offer online album sales and streaming of Views only through Apple.

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In fact, exclusivity has become the go-to move for several major artists lately. Beyonce sold Lemonade only on iTunes to Apple users (it’s also for sale on store shelves) and an exclusively for streaming through Tidal, the music service she co-owns with husband Jay-Z, among other artists. Kanye West, who also owns a piece of Tidal, also made his latest album, The Life of Pablo, available exclusively on Tidal before eventually offering it on Apple Music.

Unlike the others, Drake started with Apple and then expanded his album’s availability to retailers on Friday. It’ll come to other streaming services later this week.

While it’s unknown how much money Drake made from his exclusive Apple contract—royalties vary depending on the artist’s deal with record labels, copyrights, and whether a song was streamed or purchased, among other factors—the popularity of his album during its first several days on Apple Music suggests he may have done well.

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Meanwhile, Apple’s head of content, Larry Jackson, happily gloated to the Journal, by saying that Drake’s success on the streaming service was the result of him consistently promoting the album to both his and Apple’s large audience, suggesting Apple believes other artists should do the same instead of making deals with Tidal or Spotify.

The comment also suggests Apple knows the fight between the music-streaming services is far from over. But at least with Drake, Apple seems to have won this round.

Neither Apple nor Drake’s representatives responded to a request for comment.


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