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Sorry Drake, you can’t hype your way into song of the summer

Sorry Drake, you can’t hype your way into song of the summer
03 Jul
7:08

As soon as the warm weather rolls around, there’s an unofficial contest to become the song that gets everyone pumped, then stuck in everyone’s head, and eventually overplayed by your mother.

Tracks that get the distinction of being the “Song of the Summer” also get the glory of being the soundtrack to those unforgettable moments…at least until next summer rolls around.

This year, social media consensus had the honors going to Cardi B’s “I Like It” despite its early Memorial Day release. However a newer contender has emerged: Drake’s “Nice for What.

It’s great… but it can’t win.

You couldn’t miss Drake and his latest album “Scorpion” if you listened to music on a streaming service last week. Spotify drowned its users in Drake. Drake’s picture and songs were plastered in every playlist from “Songs to Sing in the Car” to “All the Feels” to “Bachata Lovers.” Drake’s face was even used to promote playlists that didn’t feature his songs, including “Happy Pop Hits,” which goes against everything Sad Drake stands for.

Apple Music was drinking the Drake SZN kool-aid as well. It also created a website where you could “Make Your Drake” album cover art, as well as inserted some secret surprises for fans who asked Siri about Drake’s nicknames.

The promotional landslide helped the album get streamed more than 10 million times every hour during that period, according to Spotify. According to Spotify Charts, songs from “Scorpion” were streamed more than 132,450,00 times within 24 hours of release on the platform, giving it the top spot. Apple Music and Amazon both told Variety “Scorpion” also broke its single-day streaming records as well.

But not everyone was a fan.

A Reddit user posted what they claimed was a chat transcript with Spotify asking for a refund for this month’s subscription fee for the avalanche of recommended Drake content because they did not listen to Drake nor any similar music. According to the transcript, the money was refunded.

“Whoever thought it would be a good idea to put Drake in EVERY SINGLE section of the Spotify app needs to be fired,” wrote one user on Spotify’s community board. “I will definitely not be continuing my premium subscription if this keeps up.”

“Let me start by saying I do not enjoy Drake in any way, shape, or form,” another user wrote, asking for their money back.

Then, Spotify got dragged on Twitter.

A Spotify spokesperson said that Drake did not pay for the promotion.

A source familiar with the situation said the anti-Drake movement was “minimal” — and in any case there was no refund policy.

Music has always been filled with marketing gimmicks. Record labels have paid to get their songs on the radio. Musicians get written about in gossip columns conveniently when they have a new album or tour to promote. Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s surprise album “Everything is Love” had fans racing to resign up for his music streaming service Tidal to hear the exclusive release, though those who were patient enough would be able to hear it on multiple competing streaming services a few days later. Kanye West dropped his surprise album “Ye” after weeks of controversial political statements on Twitter, perhaps to distract us from the fact that it was less than 24 minutes long and, frankly, not as good as his past work.

But just because something is widely available doesn’t necessarily mean everyone is embracing it — or, in the case of U2’s ill-fated 2014 stunt of adding a free album on Apple phones, that they even want it. If a song is in your face and impossible to avoid, it’s hard to judge its merits on a fair basis.

(And no I’m not a Meek Mill or Pusha T fan, despite what some sources on the CNBC Tech team may claim.)

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