The rules are the rules; or at least that's what Billboard Magazine decided when eliminating the 1 million albums that Jay-Z is distributing free to Samsung users from chart calculations. The decision, which netted Jay-Z a rumored $5 million, could cost the rapper/entrepreneur a spectacular #1 debut, as well as, a multi-platinum award for his wall.
While Billboard Editorial Director Bill Werde laid out the magazine's reasoning logically and thoughtfully, he also unknowingly reminded everyone that, despite some innovation, Billboard's charts are relics of another era.
For while Billboard's rules are Billboard's rules, the success or failure of Jay'Z's new album is far more about fan reaction and play counts, than it is about traditional sales.
In letter published to today, Werde wrote:
"...it wasn't as simple as you might think to turn down Jay-Z when he requested that we count the million albums that Samsung "bought" as part of a much larger brand partnership, to give away to Samsung customers. True, nothing was actually for sale - Samsung users will download a Jay-branded app for free and get the album for free a few days later after engaging with some Jay-Z content. The passionate and articulate argument by Jay's team that something was for sale and Samsung bought it also doesn't mesh with precedent."