Ariana Grande’s album thank u, next set two new records on Apple Music when it debuted last Friday: the most first-day streams of a pop album, and the most first-day streams of a female artist. Unfortunately, neither stat comes with specific figures, but the record-breaking accolades speak to more than just Grande’s success as an artist — they also speak to Apple Music’s quickly growing subscriber base.
Apple has released streaming stats more and more often over the past year, seemingly to boast about how much of a success its service can be for major artists. Last June, Apple said that Drake set a record for first-day album streams, cracking 170 million on Scorpion. As far as we know, that’s still the record. There doesn’t appear to be data on the most first-day streams for a female artist, but last April, Apple said that Cardi B had topped Taylor Swift’s previous record for most first-week streams, with 100 million total.
The context here isn’t just that these artists are delivering huge hits, it’s that Apple Music keeps growing. When Cardi B’s record was set, Apple Music had just hit 40 million subscribers. As of last month, the service was reported to be at 56 million subscribers. That last figure includes both paid subscribers and people taking part in free trials, which Apple has been pushing aggressively. The service is now bundled on some Verizon plans, too, likely pushing subscriber count up much higher.