Billboard dodged a lawsuit from angry rap producer DJ Khaled who was deeply hurt when his album, Father of Asahd, failed to debut at No. 1 on the charts last week.
Khaled reportedly planned to sue Billboard after the entertainment company disqualified 100,000 digital downloads because they were “bundled" with purchases of Awake® Energy Shot drinks.
Khaled was upset after Billboard claimed the bundle promotion was not pre-approved. But sources told The Blast that the DJ got approval before running the bundle promotion.
Khaled, who boasts nearly 20 million followers on social media, promoted his album and the Awake® Energy drinks heavily on social media.
Father of Asahd sold 136,000 album-equivalent units, of which 34,000 were pure album sales. The album landed at number 2 behind label mate Tyler, the Creator's critically-acclaimed album Igor.
According to Page Six, Khaled's lawyers fired off a letter to Silvio Pietroluongo, SVP of charts and data development at Billboard. The lawyers threatened a lawsuit after Billboard disqualified 100,000 downloads.
A source close to Khaled's camp told Page Six, "When Khaled's team tried to appeal, Billboard refused to budge."
Khaled's label, Roc Nation is also displeased by the so-called "bundles" adopted by Billboard that encourages artists to sell digital downloads paired with merchandise to artificially boost sales.
According to the NY Times, "About half the 39 titles that topped the charts last year were sold as part of ticket or merchandise 'bundles.'"
Desiree Perez, chief operating officer at DJ Khaled's label, Roc Nation, criticized the concept of bundles, calling the practice "confusing and demeaning to art." She continued, "We're obviously not fans of bundling, nor should anyone who cares about artists making music. But our hands are being forced by Billboard's desperate, last-ditch effort to keep streaming from eliminating what's left of music downloads."
On Monday, Khaled celebrated after Billboard moved Father of Asahd to No. 1 and dropped Tyler's Igor to No. 2 on the albums chart.
Last week, DJ Khaled threw a jab at Tyler, suggesting no one listens to his music.
On Saturday, Tyler 'liked' a tweet by user @fearofroya that reads, "Khaled's album is like when someone has a trash ass outfit but every piece is designer so they think it's fire."
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