As evidence of how radically and quickly music consumption is changing, this week rapper A Boogie wit Da Hoodie topped the Billboard 200 top albums chart with his album Hoodie SZN by selling a mere scant 823 downloads. No physical albums were sold as the release is streaming and download only, at this point. The reason the album topped the chart was because the album racked up an impressive 83 million streams through services like Spotify. Billboard now uses an equation that factors in physical sales, legal downloads, and streams to determine the "highest selling" album of the week. Through that method, Hoodie SZN was determined to have "sold" 58,000 units. The record displaced 21 Savage’s I Am > I Was album, which sold 3,481 physical and digital copies and had 84 million streams.
This raises an interesting contrast between pop and Hip Hop, and punk and metal. While physical sales of the former two genres are rapidly dwindling, and in many cases, major labels are opting to not issue any physical version at all, physical sales in the vinyl format have been rising for punk and metal over the past few years. Factoring for all genres, approximately 5.7 million vinyl records were sold in 2015, 7 million were sold in 2016, 8.6 million were sold in 2017, and over 10 million were sold in 2018.