Drake didn’t release the longest rap album of 2018—hello Migos and Rae Sremmurd —but Scorpion is still long as hell. It’s 90 minutes, spread across two sides organized…thematically? Sonically? Whatever, it doesn’t matter, because apparently there aren’t that many people listening to it all the way through. Despite the reporting that suggests that bloated albums fare well in the streaming era, a new piece on Rolling Stone today seems to say, among other conclusions that people are listening to Scorpion in a very curious way.
According to the report, much of Scorpion's success came from lead singles "God's Plan," "Nice for What," and "In My Feelings." Those songs, along with three others—"Nonstop," "Don't Matter to Me," and "I'm Upset,"—completed the other portion of its streams. So basically, Drake made a long ass album and people only listened to six of the songs. The other 19 songs only account for 18 percent of the album's total streams. You do the math. But, how much of a 25-track album are you really expected to digest?
If we're being honest, I haven't listened to side A since I gave Scorpion the first full listen. There isn't a part of me that wishes I would've given the complete album another chance because this is how Drake designed it. If you want If You're Reading This It's Too Late-era Drake, the first 12 tracks might be for you. But if you, like me, enjoy Drake when he's being less of this faux-macho guy side B was where you made yourself comfortable. That seems to be the point, that you can take whatever parts of Drake you like best and roll with that.
But the article's point that people gravitate to listening to radio hits doesn't seem to me to be entirely unique to the streaming era. Digital spaces are transforming every industry and the fact that people aren't budging on radio hits isn't new to the streaming era. Those of us who are old enough to remember what it was like to physically buy a CD may be guilty of only replaying the same songs that lured us to the store in the first place. The panic surrounding what streaming numbers feels alarmist and anxiety-ridden when you consider every artist's goal isn't to create the soundtrack to a viral dance.
Kristin Corry is a staff writer for Noisey. Follow her on Twitter.