Jay-Z threw the book at the standard formula for album releases when he announced that a million copies of his twelfth studio effort Magna Carta Holy Grail would be distributed for free through Samsung on July 4. Now, the Recording Industry Association of America has taken his #newrules strategy into account and has announced a new shift in the system that will certify his highly-anticipated opus platinum upon release.
“By now, many of us in the music business, as well as Jay-Z fans, know that Samsung has purchased one million “Magna Carta Holy Grail” digital albums to be given away to the phone maker’s customers,” Liz Kennedy, Director of Communications and Gold & Platinum Program at the RIAA wrote in a blog post. “It is a novel and creative marketing move and it has rightly stimulated a healthy conversation about the sale’s meaning and implications for the modern music business … We think it’s time for the RIAA – and Gelfand, Rennert & Feldman – to align our digital song and album certification requirements. That’s why today we are officially updating this rule in our G&P Program requirements. Going forward, sales of albums in digital format will become eligible on the release date, while sales of albums in physical format will still become eligible for certification 30 days after the release date.”
The new game-changing standard comes after Billboard stated that the first million would not be counted toward Jay’s performance on the Billboard 200 chart. Even the Brooklyn-bred rapper had to halt timelines and put his two cents in. “If 1 Million records gets SOLD and billboard doesnt report it, did it happen? Ha. #newrules #magnacartaholygrail Platinum!!! VII IV XIII,” he posted on Twitter June 17.
Still, the RIAA recognizes the digital landscape that has taken over music. “The reality is that how fans consume music is changing, the music business is changing as labels and artists partner with a breathtaking array of new technology services, and the industry’s premier award recognizing artists’ commercial achievement should similarly keep pace. In short, we’re continuing to move the 55-year-old program forward and it’s a good day when music sales diversification and innovative strategies meet the RIAA’s time-tested, gold standard requisites for certification.”
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