In 2015, when Drake released If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, people were unsure whether it was an album or not.
He had continuously called it a mixtape, it was officially presented as a mixtape, but it was offered for sale on iTunes. Similarly blurry demarcations were made with Chance The Rapper’s 2016 collection ‘Coloring Book’, which he called a mixtape, and didn’t ever offer for sale – although he sold the exclusive streaming rights to Apple for $500,000, so some money was certainly involved.
In the end, ARIA classed If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late as an album, as did Billboard; it was for sale, as a collection of songs. Coloring Book wasn’t eligible for the Australian charts, as it was never offered for sale. Streaming doesn’t yet contribute to the ARIA Album charts, and so while the Chance album certainly dominated playlists, and actual listening time, it never charted.
Drake’s latest album More Life was conceived of and presented as a “playlist”, although what this means at all is unclear.
It arrives fully-formed, and is packaged as a Drake album in every way. As far as ARIA is concerned it is an album — a collection of songs made for sale via iTunes (or insert favoured digital distributor here) — and the album is set to make a top three debut. More Life has another few days to rack up enough sales to knock either Adele or Ed Sheeran from the top spot, although it appears likely to come in at #3.
At any rate, this isn’t a longterm problem we’re dealing with here; streams being included in the Albums charts is an inevitability, and should also fix the recent problems we’ve seen on the Singles charts.