In Nielsen’s Mid-Year report for 2018, Post Malone’s most recent album beerbongs & bentleys was named the top album of 2018 so far. This achievement is determined by a combination of album sales, equivalent track sales, and equivalent streams. As a result, beerbongs & bentleys does not hold the top spot when looking at album sales alone, which goes to overall runner-up The Greatest Showman.
This provides an interesting indicator for how the music industry is changing given the rising popularity of music streaming. Post Malone’s album demonstrates the lowkey yet intense R&B sound that is becoming increasingly popular among young audiences. Cardi B’s album Invasion of Privacy also falls into this category and is ranked as the third most popular album overall. However, neither Cardi B nor Post Malone appear on the top three for album sales, where the number two and three spots were awarded to Man of the Woods by Justin Timberlake and Rearview Mirror by Jason Aldean.
How, then, did Post Malone end up at number one? This is because streaming services, which now have greater weight when determining rankings, are primarily used by younger audiences who generally enjoy rap music. As a result, hip-hop and R&B artists are now performing well on streaming services, making up for what they may lack in album sales, and increasing their popularity overall.
The album sale and overall popularity results highlight the widening gap between streaming and purchasing audiences. Given recent changes to how UK and US charts count track streams, it will be interesting to see how this changes the face of the music industry and future music marketing tactics.
Listen to beerbongs and bentleys below: