How Paul McCartney Landed First No. 1 Album in 36 Years

Photo Credit: Erik Pendzich/Shutterstock
September 20, 2018
Updated 25d ago

By Conor White

Paul McCartney is celebrating his first number-one album in nearly four decades.

"Egypt Station," released on September 7, sold 153,000 copies during its first week, including an impressive 147,000 in physical sales. And it's not the 76-year-old former Beatle's core Baby-Boomer fan base behind his latest success ー it's streamers.

Daily Dot managing editor Austin Powell says those numbers are certainly the ones to watch.

"'FourFiveSeconds,' [McCartney's] track with Kanye and Rihanna ー that's been streamed nearly 500 million times on Spotify," Powell said Thursday in an interview on Cheddar.

"So he has this other audience that he can tap into and that Spotify can push his music towards as well."

Powell noted that with physical album sales dropping from over half a billion in 2007 to just 169 million last year, artists have sought help from the very platforms that damaged their sales in the first place ー McCartney, for instance, recorded a live performance specifically for Spotify.

To date, "Egypt Station" has been streamed over 6 million times across all platforms, and that number will only continue to grow.

"I'm sure he got a nice push from Spotify itself ーgiving those notifications, letting people know the new album was available to stream," Powell said.

Spotify's power and influence continue to spread, as does that of its rival, Apple Music. The two services now account for more than 80 percent of paid streaming subscribers in the United States, leaving their competitors to fight for meager scraps.

And those smaller players ー including industry pioneer Pandora ー don't have great odds, according to Powell.

"I think there are only two that stand a fighting chance, and that's Google via YouTube, and that's Amazon," he said.

"They can bundle streaming into an existing service," he said.

For full interview click here.