Drake fans aren't happy.
The Toronto rapper's surprise Dark Lane Demo Tapes debuted at No. 2 this week with 223,000 equivalent album units. Though this was a respectable showing, the project was about 10,000 units shy from the top spot, and marked the end Drake's decade-long No. 1 debut streak. As you probably know, Kenny Chesney's Here and Now topped the Billboard 200 with 233,000 equivalent album units earned its first week; from that figure, 222,000 were in pure sales.
Drake's defeat was, no doubt, devastating to his fan base, especially when it was revealed that Chesney managed to gain an edge through the controversial tactic of sales bundling.
Here and Now’s debut was largely powered by sales generated from a concert ticket/album sale redemption offer with Chesney's upcoming tour ...
Bucking the trend of many new releases, Dark Lane Demo Tapes’ first-week did not benefit from any merchandise/album bundles, nor a concert ticket/album sale redemption offer. It also didn’t have any physical album formats to purchase in its first week — just the digital album.
Chesney Chillaxifcation Tour was set to kick off last month, but was postponed over coronavirus concerns. The country star told fans he was hopeful the tour would kick off at Pittsburgh's Heinz Field on May 30, which might explain why his team continued to offer the ticket bundle deal as a growing number of live events were scrapped because of the health crisis.
Just days after Here and Now took the No. 1 slot—thanks in large part to certified bundle sales—Chesney announced the Chillaxification Tour had been postponed to 2021. This, of course, reignited the debate surrounding album bundling and whether Chesney rightfully earned the No. 1 spot over Drake.
According to Billboard, Here and Now had generated only 13.4 million on-demand streams, while Dark Lane Demo Tapes received 269 million. This large gap suggests Chesney probably wouldn't have earned the No. 1 spot without the boost from ticket bundles, which were offered for a tour that may not even happen.
Drake fans have since taken to social media to express their frustration, calling on Billboard to revise their methodology to ensure something like this never happens again.