After two weeks in second place—behind 21 Savage’s I Am > I Was—Bronx rapper A Boogie Wit da Hoodie claimed his first No. 1 Billboard spot with his newest album, Hoodie SZN. But as the New York Times points out, Hoodie SZN only sold 823 traditional copies.
That makes Hoodie SZN the all-time, lowest-selling No. 1 album. A Boogie breaks a record that was established one week earlier with I Am > I Was, which conjured just over 3,000 in traditional copy sales. How is any of this possible? Last Summer, Billboard finalized their multi-tier system of streaming accountability, taking into consideration all paid subscription (Amazon, Apple Music), ad-supported (YouTube, SoundCloud) and programming services.
So when Billboard converted Hoodie SZN‘s 83 million streams from last week into SEAs (streaming equivalent albums), it allowed A Boogie’s ascension to No. 1, with the equivalent of 58,000 sales in the U.S.
Here’s an insane reference point: Prior to Billboard and Nielsen’s conversion of streaming totals into album sales, the lowest-selling No. 1 album belonged to Amos Lee’s Mission Bell (2001), which sold 40,000 copies upon its release. Again, A Boogie found the top by selling just 823 traditional copies.
These numbers do more than astonish us, or signal a change in the music industry. Because the change has already happened. CD sales are disappearing—A Boogie didn’t even release Hoodie SZN in a physical format. The business is nearly completely dominated by streaming. In 2018, the Recording Industry Association of America reported more than 75% of all retail sales revenue was from streaming. In the first half of 2018, 18.6 million CDs were sold in the United States, a decline of 47 percent from the first half of 2017.
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With some haters out there trying to discredit A Boogie’s accomplishments, the rapper took a break from celebrating to address the discord. “It sound like they trying to discredit me. I’mma keep it a buck,” The Bronx rapper told the cast of Complex’s Everyday Struggle on Tuesday (Jan 15.). “But at the same time it’s like, I don’t give a fuck because I just went brazy.”
Statistics and sales aside, there is no denying that A Boogie is on his way to becoming an A-List rapper. On the 7:30 mark of his Everyday Struggle appearance, A Boogie revealed he’s already working on the Hoodie SZN follow-up, and the title might be called Artist Soprano. “I’m doing a lot of little samples with artists that I like,” referencing the fact that he’s fan of Mary J. Blige.
You can catch A Boogie on his Hoodie SZN promotional tour. In NYC alone, A Boogie is performing at both Terminal 5 and Brooklyn Steel. Hopefully we’ll find the Bronx rapper touring into the Summer, with festival season on the rise.
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