Billboard Claims Jay-Z Didn’t Actually ‘Sell’ a Million Copies of Magna Carta…

App albums don’t count in Billboard’s world, and therefore, those copies will not be counted in the magazine’s official album charts.  Which sort of raises the obvious: what exactly did Samsung buy for $20 million, anyway?

Which brings us this alternative reality of a headline.


Meanwhile, the RIAA has already certified the album Platinum.  Which brings us to this metaphysical Jay-Z tweet…



Any word yet on that Tower Records sales number?

14 Responses

  1. GGG

    I like Jay-Z, but the fact he’s actually trying to play a multinational conglomerate “buying” 1M DLs as winning in any artistic sense of the word is ridiculously stupid. He won as a businessman, not as an artist.

    • Jay-C

      Hey Samsung actually got me to listen to the entire Jay-Z album, which I would have ignored otherwise. Big win for Jay-Z!

  2. Muckraker

    BWAHAHAHA.. Paul owes me a coffee-less screen for this line:
    “Any word yet on that Tower Records sales number?”
    Best line in all of this.

  3. cliff baldwin
    cliff baldwin

    The album has been # one on Itunes since minute one of this insanity, right alongside the app that didn’t work. What’s the big deal? The man is winning as a businessman who did a deal with Samsung *and* as a commercial artist in the marketplace. He’s laughing all the way to the bank and other pop artists are probably green with envy.

    • Me

      I don’t think anyone’s down on Jay-Z for the business deal. He made off like a bandit at Samsung’s expense.
      However, this special deal is a specific and unique deal, and is not a standard barometer of music sales. (Imo, this was more of a licensing deal than album sales).

  4. Stone

    Samsung buying a million Jay-Z albums to put on its virtual self is no different to the retailers of yester-year stocking their shelves. Therefore I’m not sure ‘stocked’ shelves should count towards chart position. Otherwise we could all just buy our way into the charts. What would be more interesting to look at is how many fans downloaded or engaged with the app. Maybe that should be reflected in some kind of chart. Then again…they downloaded it for free so I guess it isn’t technically a ‘sale’.

    • Econ

      The RIAA’s original point was that stocked sheleves don’t count as sales which is why they had a 30 or 90 day delay to account for returns.

      While Jay-Z had a point about downloads not being returnable, the fact is the major labels stopped taking returns (for lots of accounts) back in the 90’s (and the indies long before that).

      I’d bet most apps are deleted mere days after they’re downloaded simply because they provide as much lasting value as chewing gum. I’d even say most music downloads are deleted a few years after the sale, certainly we know how seldom most files are accessed. But a download sale is a final sale.

  5. Hahaha

    What did Samsung buy for $20m? A very expensive 15 minutes of publicity. Nothing more, nothing less. Sure, it’s great for Galaxy owners who like Jay-Z, but I don’t know of anyone who rushed out and bought a Galaxy phone because they thought, “oh my god, this is so cool, I need to be the first one to hear the album.”
    Samsung basically just set fire to $20m in liquidity, and got no return.
    Or was this supposed to be a corporate tug at their customers’ heart strings, a la, “hey, hey, guys, hey! We’re giving you free music*. Look how much we love you!”
    *Ignoring the fact, of course, that music has already been devalued to the point of being almost free.

    • Econ

      50K phone sales would be enough to break even.

      And these “20 million” deals are usually the max value with incentives for the life of the deal. No way Samsung has spent 20 million yet and may never spend that much when the deal expires.

  6. wallow-T

    Meanwhile, the technical reviews of the Samsung/Jay-Z app are in, and they are not kind:
    Ars Technica: “Samsung and Jay-Z give the Internet a master’s class in how not to make an app”
    “We install the most needlessly invasive Android app ever.”
    New York Times: headline: “Jay-Z is Watching, and He Knows Your Friends”
    “When installed, it demanded a working log in to Facebook or Twitter and permission to post on the account…”
    References to PRISM and Edward Snowden have been common.

  7. danman

    I guess money CAN buy happiness cause Jay-Z seems pretty stoked! If my rich daddy buys 1 million of my albums before it’s release, does it count? D’oh!


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