Dismissing the Singer’s Sales as ‘Unverified,’ Kris Wu Lands at No. 100 on the Billboard 200

Chinese music fans found a clever way to download Kris Wu’s album.  But it looks like Billboard has disqualified the purchases.

Nearly two weeks ago, Kris Wu dropped his latest album.

With digital downloads on the decline, Antares took the top seven spots on iTunes.  Then, after Ariana Grande dropped thank u, next, Wu’s album managed to remain on top for a few hours.

Grande fans immediately took to the internet to decry the result.  How could a relative newcomer to the American music market reach the top?  They accused the Chinese singer of chart manipulation.

Then, Scooter Braun, Grande’s manager, revealed Kris Wu had only managed to beat the pop singer thanks to his Chinese fan base back home.  As the album was held back ahead of the singer’s birthday on November 6th, diehard fans proceeded accordingly.  Using a VPN, they accessed iTunes in the US and purchased Wu’s album.

Pushing for an investigation, Braun explained,

It was explained to he and I last night that because his release was held back in China for his birthday his fans went and got the music any way they could and that was U.S. iTunes.  Once the release in China took place the fans had their access.

Billboard then revealed Nielsen Music had undertaken an investigation into the legitimacy of Wu’s sales.

As we do with all reports when irregularities are noticed during the normal weekly validation process, we work closely with our partners to address the issue, which may result in excluding any irregular or excessive sales patterns, prior to charts being finalized.

Now, much to the dismay of the singer’s large Chinese fan base, Nielsen Music has released its verdict.

No, VPN downloads don’t count.

Following an internal audit into the singer’s sales volumes, Kris Wu has landed at No. 100 on the Billboard 200.

Dismissing the VPN sales as “unverified,” Antares had 8,000 equivalent album units in the week ending November 8th.

Nielsen Music explained in a statement,

As with all instances when providers are unable to validate sales, Nielsen decides on a case by case basis whether streaming or sales activity is chart-eligible.  In this case, we did not receive the required validation of certain Kris Wu sales for last week and have decided to remove all unverified activity for the week ending November 8.

Despite the verdict, Universal Music Group, Wu’s label, released a statement, saying it’s “thrilled” with Antares’ success.

In its first week, the album has already been certified seven-times Platinum in China, where it’s currently the top album on the country’s four biggest streaming services.  With Antares, Kris Wu becomes the first Chinese recording artist to concurrently land in major industry and genre charts across the U.S., U.K., Australia and other parts of the world.”


Featured image by TechCrunch (CC by 2.0).

One Response

  1. ©

    This only further delegitimizes Billboard. I wonder how this decision would have been impacted if Billboard had nothing to gain from capitulating to Grande’s team through wanting her involvement in their unnecessary awards show, concert/interview access etc.
    If VPN downloads son’t count because they cannot be verified, how in the hell do YouTube and other streaming plays count? You can (and most of the labels do) buy bottled clicks and fake listens on streaming platforms. The got busted for doing it on YouTube before with Lady Gaga.