By Peter Berry, a Third Bridge Creative contributor.
This is the first installment of a regular column looking at the numbers and stories behind one of the week’s biggest new music releases. Today, the honor goes to Drake’s new album, For All the Dogs, released on October 6, 2023.
This is Drake’s third album in just over a year, following the June 2022 release of Honestly, Nevermind and a collaborative project Her Loss with 21 Savage in November. The duo hit the road in July for their It’s All a Blur Tour, which wrapped up in Columbus this week. In the months preceding For All the Dogs, he dropped three singles – the first two being April’s “Search & Rescue (which was ultimately left off FATD) and September’s “Slime You Out,” a bitter, SZA-assisted track that drew extra attention for cover art that features Halle Berry. On October 5, a day before the full album premiered, Drake trended again when he released the video for “8AM in Charlotte,” the latest song in his timestamp series, through Instagram and X, the site formerly known as Twitter.
Drake has had multiple top-five Billboard Hot 100 singles over the last 15 months. Honestly, Nevermind’s Tay Keith-produced, 21 Savage-assisted “Jimmy Cooks” peaked at No. 1 last July. Drake and 21 Savage’s Her Loss single “Major Distribution” peaked at No. 3 on the charts shortly after its release last November. His singles for For All the Dogs have only continued the tradition, with “Search & Rescue” hitting No. 2 in April and “Slime You Out” debuting at No. 1 last month.
The Last Album:
Honestly, Nevermind had some of the worst first-week numbers of Drake’s career, possibly because he swapped his usual production style for house. However, on July 14, 2022, he achieved his highest Chartmetric artist score (over 637k) of the last two years while riding the momentum of Honestly, Nevermind. Released in November 2022, his 21 Savage joint album Her Loss would go on to sell over 400k equivalent album units in its first week.
The Playlist Adds:
Three days after the album's release, Drake nabbed the No. 1 spot on Chartmetric’s rankings of the most popular artists, overtaking Taylor Swift who has dominated the rankings for months as the top artist. In the last two years, he’s never dropped out of the top five, and he’s frequently oscillated between the No. 1 and No. 2 spots.
The Bottom Line:
Nominally speaking, Drake is doing well by way of consistency rather than any explosive dominance. He’s had hits, but they’ve lacked the staying power of his biggest songs. Both his lead singles for For All the Dogs suffered substantial drops in popularity shortly after their release, with “Search & Rescue” falling from No. 2 to No. 11, and “Slime You Out” falling from 11 slots to No. 12 after its first week at No. 1.
Graphics by Nicki Camberg and cover image by Crasianne Tirado; data as of Oct. 9, 2023.