It pays to have friends in high places with deep pockets: money changes everything.
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has changed its rules to allow albums given away for free to be counted in Jay Z’s total sales. Electronics giant Samsung recently announced a $20 million sponsorship deal with the aging rapper. The deal immediately began paying dividends for the father-of-two when Samsung bought 1 million advance copies of his soon-to-be released album Magna Carta Holy Grail, which drops on July 4.
SAmsung will give away the albums for free to users who download a radio app to their Samsung smartphones. The 1 million in advanced sales put a quick $5 million in Jay Z’s back pocket. The RIAA originally said the adavance sales would not count toward Jigga’s total sales. Then he took to Twitter to pitch a fit and the RIAA gave in to his demands. In defending its decision to count Jay Z’s giveaways as sales, the RIAA released a long, wordy explanation which basically says that digital sales are a new frontier that allows for “new rules.”
Read an excerpt of the RIAA’s statement after the break.
Also at the time in 2004, sales of digital albums were virtually non-existent and accounted for a small fraction of overall digital sales. Fast forward a decade and that’s obviously no longer the case.
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.
Read the full statement here.
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