UPDATE: I wrote this last Monday, June 17th: the 1 million free copies of Jay Z’s “Magna Carta” album from Samsung will not be counted by Soundscan or Billboard on the pop charts. I had already confirmed with Soundscan a week ago. Now Billboard chimes in with a letter on its website.
Here’s what I wrote:
So here it is. According to my sources, Soundscan will not count the 1 million copies of Jay Z’s new album, “Magna Carta Holy Grail.” Samsung bought the 1 million copies for five bucks apiece. They plan to give them out to the first million customers who download their Jay Z app on Samsung phones and tablets beginning June 24th. The $5 million involved is part of what’s described as a $30 million marketing plan. It’s good for Jay Z and Samsung equally. But Soundscan, which counts the units sold, won’t include that number in Jay Z’s sales.
Soundscan simply doesn’t acknowledge bulk sales.
So when “Magna Carta” debuts a couple of days later in stores and on download services, forget it. Only those copies will count toward his chart position. The Samsung million will just be part of the promotion.
Billboard will follow suit with Soundscan and not count the copies either.
But if Soundscan doesn’t count them, then it’s likely the RIAA won’t either– and that will impinge on Jay Z getting a gold or platinum album. But hey, after 10 hit albums and millions of dollars, it’s possible he doesn’t care about that anymore. Heck, “Magna Carta” doesn’t even appear on release schedules. It’s just…appeared out of nowhere.