Jay Z’s “Magna Carta” giveaway is almost here. Samsung will send out 1 million free copies on July 4th. They bought ’em from Universal Music for five bucks each. Billboard and Soundscan so far are not counting the million copies for their charts. It’s a bulk sale, they maintain. And it’s free. Samsung also bought the albums for half the price they’d sell for on iTunes or amazon.
But the RIAA has caved in. The Record Industry Association of America gives platinum and gold albums based on “shipped units” not actual sales. Until yesterday they waited 30 days to see what returns came in before they gave the awards. But yesterday they announced that with digital sales they won’t wait anymore. And they will count the “Magna Carta” give away.
No surprise. The RIAA has five people from Universal Music on its board. They’re not exactly cutting edge, they go where the wind takes them, where it blows, so to speak. They’re the group that sues grandmothers for downloading, but let Bit Torrent, Pirate Bay and Lime Wire run wild for years until the record business was decimated.
It’s not to see they took a hard line on this one. Jay Z probably got his platinum album yesterday afternoon. Meantime, though I downloaded the app from Samsung, I’ve never actually been able to see the lyrics to the songs. A big gray box cuts them off. God knows what I’m missing…