Rihanna's new record has been online for less than a day, but it is already a huge success. "ANTI," the Barbadian megastar’s eighth album, has been streamed nearly 14 million times in the 14 hours that have passed since its surprise Wednesday night release, according to Tidal. Most crucially, it's also been downloaded more than 1 million times by fans using a discount code provided by Samsung.
While you might not think so, the smaller of those two numbers is much more important. The last time the Jay Z-owned service disclosed its subscriber totals, it announced that it had amassed 1 million subscribers. Thanks to its partnership with Samsung, it earned itself at least 1 million chances to sell people on trying its service out free, for two months, without so much as entering their credit card information. That is an amazing customer acquisition opportunity that Tidal didn’t have to pay a nickel for, and it may wind up being a strategy the service’s stakeholders try to repeat in the future.
Those 14 million streams, by comparison, are more difficult to put into context. Compared to the 205 million streams that Justin Bieber’s "Purpose" accumulated back in November during its first week of release, 14 million doesn’t look like a whole lot. But Bieber accumulated those streams after building hype for weeks and thanks to a release across every single streaming service, including YouTube. "ANTI," on the other hand, is only available on a service that has 1 million subscribers, and Rihanna's album might have smashed the Biebs' record with a wider release.
What happens to "ANTI" next week, when this exclusive window closes, is anybody's guess. Rihanna will have plenty of opportunities to drive huge surges of interest in her album, including back to back appearances on two of the three biggest television events of the year: the Super Bowl, where she will perform during the halftime show, and the Grammys, where she will also perform.