The Weeknd defied higher level music industry heads and refused to put his album release on ice in the throes of the coronavirus pandemic ... and now he looks like a genius!!!
Here's the deal ... The Weeknd announced a March 20 release date for his new project "After Hours" long before the virus reached the United States ... and as the situation became serious, higher-ups started pressuring him to delay the release.
We're told the higher level heads had serious fears the album would flop because of a lack of marketing opportunities ... TV appearances were drying up as the outbreak started shutting down Hollywood.
They weren't alone in their fears ... Lady Gaga had already postponed her own project, "Chromatica."
The Weeknd trusted his work and his fans, and wanted to push forward with the release ... so he made the ultimate decision to drop the album, giving people a much-needed distraction and some joy in a dark time.
So far, The Weeknd's looking pretty smart ... the album passed 1 BILLION streams in its first week, and the first day saw 100 million streams. At one point, "After Hours" songs held the top 12 spots on the Apple Music Top 100.
Bottom line ... The Weeknd bet on himself, and won big time.