Music Business

Billboard Reminds How Antiquated Their Charts Are With Rejection Of 1M Jay-Z Samsung Albums

image from www.thisisrnb.comThe 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."

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  1. I think this is an interesting. In my mind Samsung ‘buying’ 1 million albums is similar to a retailer buying stock and putting them on the shelf. At this point nothing has happened other than the shelf’s have been filled. For me the question is should chart position reflect what is put on the shelf or what is actually sold/downloaded/engaged by the consumer?
    What would happen if every record company ‘bought’ 1 million albums and gave them away, in effect replicating the Samsung deal by staking the shelf’s of their oen virtual shop. Should these albums be chart eligible?

  2. Apologies for the typos!
    The last paragraph should read…
    What would happen if every record company ‘bought’ 1 million albums and gave them away, in effect replicating the Samsung deal by stacking the shelf’s of their own virtual shop. Should these albums be chart eligible?

  3. You make a good point. This is much like record companies have done in the past, buying large groups of a single to get some sort of chart momentum and inflate the actual sales. The thing is, these aren’t actual “sales,” they are giveaways. Something like this should not be considered for any type of chart numbers, otherwise everyone will do it.

  4. In order to Give away those million copies.. a million must download the Music App…
    maybe there should be a music app chart.

  5. I actually agree with you but here is a small difference. If Samsung actually paid for the digital copies and there was an accounting transaction isn’t it the same as you or I buying them ? What Samsung does with them is there business.
    I agree with the writer that BB is an old system of accounting and although it has a place it’s place is not what it once was. I also looked at this from the artist standpoint that really who cares about the count? I guess for Jay-Z his record number 1s are at stake but if the actual momentum is greater then his sales are more direct and his profit is greater too…”we hope”. Billboard holds the records of recording sales but the profits are another thing. I think he made a mistake asking for credit because it gave BB free money.
    Using myself as an example, I spent many dollars in the past buying BB magazine. I think the last physical copy I bought was maybe 1-2 years ago I actually had a hard time finding them they were the “Holy Grail”. Now off of the momentum of this topic not only did I download the BB app I purchased the magazine..BB 1 Jay-Z 0 those dollars should go to the artist not BB..(I will probably buy the LP anyway but I hope you see my point) They are riding the marketing wave for free Mr. Carter put in…Samsung put in…Def Jam (Physical Distribution) put in…BB has a right to accept of deny what they want. In this instance they don’t deserve a free seat at the table..

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