Drake's 'God Plan' tops digital song sales chart, but with lowest total for a No. 1 since 2005

For the first time in just over 12 years, the week's top-selling song sold fewer than 50,000 downloads.

Drake's "God's Plan" leads Billboard's Digital Song Sales chart (dated March 24) for a sixth total week with 49,000 downloads sold in the week ending March 15, according to Nielsen Music. That marks the lowest total for a No. 1 since the chart dated Dec. 31, 2005, when Mariah Carey's "Don't Forget About Us" ruled with 39,000.

Downloads were still relatively new in 2005, the year that the Billboard began incorporating their sales into the weekly Billboard Hot 100, on the chart dated that Feb. 12. That week brought the lowest total for a Digital Song Sales No. 1 since, as Green Day's "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" led with 31,000.

Nielsen Music started tracking digital song sales in 2003, the same year that Apple's iTunes Store launched.

("Plan" peaked with 127,000 downloads sold in its debut week, on charts dated Feb. 3.)

As recently as two years ago, Adele set the record for the most downloads sold in a week: 1.11 million for "Hello" (Nov. 14, 2015). The smash stands as an anomaly, however, as, previously, Flo Rida's "Right Round" had held the mark of 636,000, logged on the chart dated Feb. 28, 2009. (Concurrent with the record-setting frame for "Hello," parent album 25launched at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with a Nielsen-era record 3.38 million copies sold in the U.S.)

The latest sum for "Plan" further reflects the decline of download sales, as streaming continues to surge. Notably, "Plan" tops the Streaming Songs chart with 59.6 million U.S. streams in the week ending March 15, and all of the song's first eight weeks rank among the top 11 streaming weeks for any song all-time.

So far in 2018 (through the week ending March 15), digital song sales are down 27 percent compared to the same year-to-date point a year ago (99.3 million vs. 135.2 million, as of the week ending March 16, 2017).

Overall digital song sales totaled 554.82 million in 2017, down 23 percent compared to 2016 (724.04 million). 2017 marked the fifth straight year that digital song sales declined. That's an unsurprising distinction, considering how many consumers transitioned to enjoying music through streaming services instead of via purchasing albums and songs; overall on-demand streams (audio and video combined) climbed 43 percent in 2017 to 618.03 billion.

From 2004 through 2012, digital song sales grew on a yearly basis. The high-water mark for the format's sales was 2012, when song download sales total 1.336 billion.

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Grammy-winning rapper Drake surprised fans by releasing an album on iTunes early on Friday, following in the footsteps of pop singer Beyonce, who put out her fifth studio album with no advance notice just over a year ago.The musician linked to the iTunes page of the 17-track album, entitled "If You're Reading This It's Too Late," in a posting on Twitter. The record features guest artists including Lil Wayne, PARTYNEXTDOOR, and Travi$ Scott.
MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA - SEPTEMBER 16: Rapper Drake performs during the Drake vs. Lil Wayne Tour at Shoreline Amphitheatre on September 16, 2014 in Mountain View, California. (Photo by C Flanigan/FilmMagic)
TORONTO, CANADA - SEPTEMBER 30: Rapper Drake addresses the media as it was announced the Toronto Raptors will host NBA All-Star 2016 announced during todays press conference at the Air Canada Centre on September 30 , 2013 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2013 NBAE (Photo by Dave Sandford/NBAE via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 18: (L-R) Singer Usher, music producer Noah '40' Shebib, and rapper Drake at the 40th American Music Awards held at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on November 18, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/AMA2012/Getty Images for AMA)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 06: (L-R) Singer/rapper Nicki Minaj and rappers Drake and Lil Wayne accept the award for Best Hip Hop Video onstage at the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards at Staples Center on September 6, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
TORONTO, ONTARIO - APRIL 12: Founder and CEO of Virginia Black Decadent American Whiskey Brent Hocking and songwriter, rapper and actor Drake attend the Canadian Pre-Launch of Virginia Black Decadent American Whiskey held at LCBO at Yonge & Summerhill on April 12, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by George Pimentel/Getty Images for Virginia Black Decadent American Whiskey)
TORONTO, ON - MARCH 04: Rapper Drake shouts from his courtside seat during the second half of an NBA game between the Portland Trail Blazers and the Toronto Raptors at the Air Canada Centre on March 04, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - FEBRUARY 14: Rapper Drake speaks during introductions before the NBA All-Star Game 2016 at the Air Canada Centre on February 14, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - FEBRUARY 14: Canadian rapper Drake talks to Eastern Conference Toronto Raptors DeMar DeRozan (10) during half time in the NBA all-star game in Toronto, Ontario. Toronto Star/Todd Korol (Todd Korol/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
TORONTO, CANADA - FEBRUARY 14: Rapper, Drake announces the starting line ups before the NBA All-Star Game as part of 2016 NBA All-Star Weekend on February 14, 2016 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 25: Rapper, Drake smiles during the Cleveland Cavaliers game against the Golden State Warriors on December 25, 2015 at ORACLE Arena in Oakland,California.NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2015 NBAE (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)
INGLEWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 08: Musician Drake performs onstage during REAL 92.3's 'The Real Show' at The Forum on November 8, 2015 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Scott Dudelson/Getty Images)
AUSTIN, TX - OCTOBER 10: Rapper Drake performs onstage during weekend two, day two of Austin City Limits Music Festival at Zilker Park on October 10, 2015 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Rick Kern/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 11: Rapper Drake attends the Women's Singles Semifinals match between Roberta Vinci of Italy and Serena Williams of the United States on Day Twelve of the 2015 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 11, 2015 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 18: Drake performs at Music Midtown at Piedmont Park on September 18, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Chris McKay/Getty Images for Live Nation)
SQUAMISH, BC - AUGUST 08: Rapper Drake performs onstage during Day 2 of Squamish Valley Music Festival on August 8, 2015 in Squamish, Canada. (Photo by Andrew Chin/Getty Images)
Canadian rapper Drake sits on centre court to watch the women's semi-finals matches on day ten of the 2015 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on July 9, 2015. RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE -- AFP PHOTO / GLYN KIRK (Photo credit should read GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images)
TORONTO, CANADA - MARCH 9: Masai Ujiri and Drake before the game between the Houston Rockets and Toronto Raptors on March 9, 2018 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Ron Turenne/NBAE via Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - MARCH 04: (EXCLUSIVE ACCESS, SPECIAL RATES APPLY) James Corden and Drake attend the 2018 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Radhika Jones at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on March 4, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/VF18/WireImage)
TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 09: Drake (L) and Chubbs attend as Lebron James hosts Dwyane Wade's Birthday with The House Of Remy Martin at Drake's New Pick 6ix Restaurant on January 9, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Johnny Nunez/Getty Images for Remy Martin)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 07: Drake performs at Qudos Bank Arena on November 7, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Lagerhaus/WireImage)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - NOVEMBER 03: Drake performs at at Spark Arena on November 3, 2017 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Dave Simpson/WireImage)
TORONTO, ON- SEPTEMBER 9 - Drake at the red carpet for the movie, 'The Carter Effect' at the Winter Garden and Elgin Theatres during the Toronto International Film Festival in Toronto. September 9, 2017. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON- SEPTEMBER 9 - Drake at the red carpet for the movie, 'The Carter Effect' at the Winter Garden and Elgin Theatres during the Toronto International Film Festival in Toronto. September 9, 2017. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
NEW YORK - JUNE 26: Drake poses on the red carpet during the 2017 NBA Awards Show on June 26, 2017 at Basketball City in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - FEBRUARY 17: Rapper Drake poses on the All-Star Red Carpet prior to the 2013 NBA All-Star Game presented by Kia Motors on February 17, 2013 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2013 NBAE (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)
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