#NumbersDontLie: How streaming is fast defining success in the music industry

It would probably be perplexing for an album to cross the one billion mark in streams yet such an album is not dominating award platforms all over. To have amassed such a landmark figure indicates global acceptance of such a music project and that its style resonates with many music fans. But when it falls short of recognition for music brilliance which awards are often known to acknowledge, then it would seem that there is a disconnect between numbers and brilliance.

This is the scenario for Davido’s second studio album, A Good Time which hit one billion streams in just about eight months after its release in November 2019.

Burna Boy’s African Giant did not have such pulling power of streams but it caught the attention of The Recording Academy. Burna Boy had an impressive winning run of awards, from BET to MTV and Headies, among others but it didn’t necessarily mean his projects had the highest numbers.

While awards will always be welcome for artistes, streaming offers them what awards don’t – money. Digital platforms such as Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube, Boomplay and Audiomack all pay artistes for every time their song is engaged. Hence, having a billion streams will mean more money than any plaque could.

In fact, reaching landmark streams has now become a form of achievement for musicians as they now post on their social media pages the numbers their singles and albums are attracting.

Popular singer and Big Brother Lockdown edition winner, Laycon recently garnered one million streams on music digital platforms with his EP, Who is Laycon. Superstars such as Davido, Wizkid, Olamide who recently dropped albums have also taken to social media to celebrate streaming ‘wins’.

More so, streaming offers more than just money, it suggests how much acceptance a song or album has received from fans. Large numbers indicate positive reception and vice versa. If a track is then streamed by a hundred million people, winning an award would just be the icing on the cake.

Certifications that also come with reaching certain milestones in sales through streams have reduced the impact of regular awards. There are platinum, gold and diamond certifications for songs and albums which attain certain million(s) in sales. Davido received for his songs, If and Fall some years back.

With sales and streams now coming with their own trophies apart from the money which would have been raked in without interference from any management, the parameter for success in the music industry is now streaming numbers and obsession with it may not stop soon considering the digital trend of things.

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