In 2014, Billboard revised how they track album sales in order to accommodate the rise in streaming services like Apple Music and Spotify. When tracking singles, 1500 streams or 10 paid downloads became the equivalent of one album sold. But if the single came from an album that was unreleased, all of those thousands — or sometimes millions — of plays went unrecorded.
Epic Records has figured out how to engineer the new system to work to their advantage by collecting the popular summer songs from artists who don’t currently have albums out and putting them into one digital playlist. The digital-only compilation that is Epic AF is now the home of summer staples like “Lockjaw" by French Montana and Kodak Black, “Pick Up The Phone” by Travis Scott, “For Free” by DJ Khaled and Drake, and Toronto Blue Jay shortstop Troy Tulowitski’s current walkup song, Kent Jones’ “Don’t Mind”.
“Don’t Mind” which currently has over 100 million Spotify streams now has those streams attached to an album which puts the digital compilation on the Billboard charts which is a win for Epic that they wouldn’t otherwise have had. Once the artists' albums are released, the streams from the singles start counting towards those instead. A digital compilation can serve as a sort of placeholder on the Billboard charts until a label is ready to release the full album Epic AF dropped 27 positions on the chart when DJ Khaled's "For Free" came out on his current album, Major Key which currently sits at number one.
Epic AF has charted in the Top 10 four times so far this summer.
“It did what it was supposed to do,” Celine Joshua, a section vice president for commerce at Epic told the New York Times. “It was born out of a need and a problem.”
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