Revolutionary hip-hop artist Kanye West now has another accomplishment on his belt, as his album The Life of Pablo made history. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has announced that the album is officially certified platinum. This makes it the first ever album to accomplish this feat in a streaming-only format. According to the RIAA, the album has been streamed 1.5 billion times in the United States since its release in February 2016. Most major streaming services made the album available the following month.
The Life of Pablo had already made its mark in 2016 before reaching this record. The album was nominated for Best Rap Album at the 2017 Grammy Awards. In addition to the astounding streaming numbers within the United States, it is reported that the album has been streamed worldwide approximately three billion times. Pablo is Kanye’s seventh solo album, all of which have now gone platinum (eight platinums if you count his collaborative album with Jay-Z, 2011’s Watch the Throne). In the United States, West’s best-seller is his sophomore album, Late Registration, which has sold over 3,600,000 copies since its release in 2005. This makes it a triple-platinum album, a title only shared by his debut album, The College Dropout from 2004.
The streaming-only category of music has had records shattered left and right in recent years. One example is Chance the Rapper’s Coloring Book, which became the first streaming-only album to chart in the Billboard Top 200 and the first such album to win a Grammy Award. The Life of Pablo, which was released afterwards, became the first ever streaming-only album to reach the top spot on the Billboard Top 200.
This news comes after a turbulent year following the release of Pablo. He was hospitalized for exhaustion in November of last year and disappeared from the spotlight for weeks. He later made a controversial meeting with President Donald Trump. His most recent work was a featured spot on Mary J. Blige’s single “Love Yourself”, released on March 31, 2017.