Keep refreshing for updates: No one seems to know what to do about Samsung’s million copy giveaway of Jay Z’s new album. “Magna Carta Holy Grail.” Should the million copies be counted on the charts? Soundscan told me last week they wouldn’t acknowlege a bulk order. Billboard followed suit. The million copies launch on July 4th.
(Note: By the way, Jay Z’s RocNation has the #1 and #2 albums this week with Kanye West and J. Cole. Together they sold about 800,000 copies. So Jay Z is not suffering, by any means.)
This afternoon Nielsen, which owns Soundscan, sent out this mysterious message:
“As champions of the music industry, Nielsen applauds Jay-Z and Samsung for their innovative campaign to distribute one million copies of Magna Carta Holy Grail before its release, and recognizes its positive impact on, and future potential for, artists, labels and fans. We are confident that more brands and artists will benefit from working together in similar ways.
With respect to the decision announced today to not count the Samsung-purchased Magna Carta Holy Grail albums on the Billboard 200 chart, Billboard and Nielsen have been in discussions with clients, data providers, retailers and other brands to ascertain the most beneficial means to validate these types of initiatives, while preserving the integrity of how music consumption is quantified.
We are going to continue to discuss these issues, and carefully consider ways to ensure that we continue to provide the most accurate overview of music sales and popular taste.”
I have no idea what that means except it sounds like Jay Z’s people at Universal are going bat-crazy trying to reverse this policy. There’s millions of dollars at stake here. So stay tuned…