Last week it was announced that Samsung had purchased one million digital copies of Jay-Z’s coming album, which will be given away free when they launch a new cell phone app. Jay-Z then tweeted his millions of followers with a demand that the RIAA grant him a platinum album even though technically no one has bought it. Yesterday the RIAA agreed and the rap superstar will get his shiny plaque. But Billboard isn’t having it and the “sales” will not be reflected on their charts.
“It wasn’t as simple as you might think to turn down Jay-Z when he requested that we count the million albums that Samsung ‘bought’ as part of a much larger brand partnership, to give away to Samsung customers,” Werde wrote in a letter from the editor. “True, nothing was actually for sale — Samsung users will download a Jay-branded app for free and get the album for free a few days later after engaging with some Jay-Z content. The passionate and articulate argument by Jay’s team that something was for sale and Samsung bought it also doesn’t mesh with precedent.”