Gone are the days where are artists were solely focused on album sales. In fact, most people would be hard-pressed to find albums and CDs in stores available for physical enjoyment.

Because no one really owns CDs anymore, listeners mostly rely on streaming services to enjoy their music. And with a focus on how streaming numbers affect popularity and accolades, artists are more particular about how the streaming data is counted. Recently, Cardi B was accused of boosting her streaming numbers ahead of the release of her sophomore album.

The Streaming Era Is Different

During an appearance on CENTERFOLD, the digital platform associated with her Playboy partnership, the Bodak Yellow artist announced that her wildly popular singles “WAP” and “UP” will be official tracks on her next album.

The fact that the songs are both over a year old caused quite an uproar on the internet. Fans and music enthusiasts blame the streaming era for Cardi’s ability to add such dated songs to what will be a new album with no specific release date in mind.

Released in 2020, “WAP,” which features Megan Thee Stallion, was released in Summer 2020. During that time, the highly contested song was at number one on both the streaming songs and digital song sales charts, with 93 million U.S. streams and 125,000 downloads sold in its first week.

“UP” experienced similar success as it was certified double platinum in its release in under a year.

Cardi is denying that the inclusion of these two songs is an effort to inflate streaming numbers for her upcoming album. According to the official rules, singles released prior to an album are not counted toward the first week of sales plus streaming numbers. However, the success of those singles will count toward the total number of unit streams for the album.