Home Uncategorized Jay Z-Samsung Album Giveaway Causing Agita for Universal, Billboard, Soundscan

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…

 

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Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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