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Has Cassper Nyovest Really Sold Over 10 Million Records?

As digital music streaming has powered on to account for the largest source of global recorded music sales this year, the debate on what value constitutes a stream sale vs a pure sale has continued to rage on.

Rap superstar Cassper Nyovest, posing with a certification plaque, announced on social media that he has sold over 10 million career records. Amid the congratulatory reactions, questions over the veracity of the claim quickly surfaced.

Leading the pack was Kalawa Jazmee alumni DJ Maphorisa, a producer and DJ who has worked with some of the best in the industry. Apart from filling up massive stadiums, Cassper is undeniably one of the biggest selling artists in the country, but in a country like ours, where 15 000 copies sold is certified gold and 30 000 copies sold is certified platinum, the 10 million announcement would always be contentious.

It was later revealed that Cassper was awarded a certification in respect of combined multi-platinum digital streams in excess of 10 million. This is a massive achievement, however, taking the album-equivalent unit measurement methodology into account, digital streams are not to be mistaken with actual record sales.

Introduced in 2016, the streaming equivalent album ranking methodology measures every 1 500 song streams from an album as equivalent to one purchase of the album.

With this in mind, Cassper’s 10 million career digital streams account for 6 667 in actual pure sales. Similarly, Shane Eagle’s recent announcement of 1 million digital streams for his debut album Yellow, equate to only 666 pure sales.

Again, these numbers are nothing to sneeze at, as digital streaming becomes the primary form of how we consume music, these certifications will become more commonplace.

Congratulations to Cassper on his 10 million plus career digital streams, a colossal feat for an indie artist, this is, however, a far cry from 10 million pure record sales.

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