Jay-Z broke some new ground in the music industry when his “Magna Carta” album was declared platinum the day it was released due to a deal with Samsung that immediately “sold” a million copies to the phone company to give away to its users.
The Recording Industry Association of America has acknowledged the digital sales, which will definitely change the face of album sale totals going forward.
The RIAA got in on the fun too, posting a picture of Jay-Z with his platinum plaque to its Facebook page.
The Billboard album chart, however, will not be counting the Samsung deal. Billboard’s Bill Werde writes a thoughtful letter as to why. Here’s an excerpt:
Our role as the chart of record is to set the rules, and hopefully even
raise the level of play. It is in this spirit that I say 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. 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
The full letter can be read on Billboard’s website. What do you think, music lovers? Should the Samsung copies count as sales? Is the Samsung deal different than straight-up digital sales on iTunes or some other music service?