However, you could apply this streaming vs. CD comparison to any format change in music history, and argue that such and such artist was more popular than such and such artist, because when “albums were available on vinyl LP’s, as opposed to CD’s, people listened like…”
Which is to say — it’s a bit of a circular conversation.
From the 1900’s until now, we’ve basically moved, continuously, towards a model where the music listening experience is as seamless, portable and turnkey as possible. Even recordings themselves were a way to replace the hassle that was going to see a band/performer live. Streaming is all of that on HGH.
I guess if you futz with the numbers enough — on paper, Drake is the biggest rapper of all time. He’s probably bigger than 2Pac or Biggie ever were, that’s for certain, although that’s a hard thing for people over the age of 30 to actually admit.