Jay-Z’s upcoming Magna Carta Holy Grail isn’t even out yet and it’s already gone platinum. It’s no surprise the rapper has pulled off another guaranteed hit, with every effort in his catalog holding platinum or multi-platinum status, but the Recording Industry Association of America’s (RIAA) decision to change their certification rules in light of special circumstances surrounding Magna Carta Holy Grail is unprecedented.
Traditionally, an album cannot gain gold or platinum certification status for digital sales until 30 days after it is released. However, Jay-Z has already penned a deal with Samsung, who bought one million copies of the album ahead of its release to offer to Samsung Galaxy users for free.
While the 30-day waiting period is still applicable to physical releases, the RIAA is eager to update their system to accommodate modern sales formats, inspired by Jay-Z’s move.
“For us, the move prompted a re-examination of our historic Gold & Platinum (G&P) Program award rules,” wrote Liz Kennedy, the Director of the RIAA’s Gold and Platinum Program, on the organization’s blog. “Not only do we believe it’s sensible and logical to align digital album rules with those we have maintained for digital singles since the program’s inception, we also consider today’s move in line with our larger efforts to modernize the [Gold and Platinum] Program to reflect the new music marketplace.”
Despite the changes happening at the RIAA, Billboard has already confirmed that the Magna Carta Holy Gail Samsung sales will not count on their Billboard 200 album chart.
“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,” Billboard Editorial Director Bill Werde wrote last month. “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.”
Last month on Twitter, Jay-Z alluded to both Billboard‘s and the RIAA’s decisions before they were announced.
— Mr. Carter (@S_C_) June 17, 2013
Is it any surprise to see him so focused on sales? Nah. To borrow a line, he’s a business, man — not a businessman.
Magna Carta Holy Grail is set for release July 4.
- Nee-Sa Lossing, Radio.com