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Jay-Z Covers Billboard, Samsung Deal Explained

Billboard
Billboard

Jay-Z‘s recent Samsung deal for his upcoming album, ‘Magna Carta Holy Grail,’ is examined in the latest issue of Billboard magazine.

The cover story, cleverly titled “Jay-Z’s New Blueprint,” explains why the magazine will not count the 1 million pre-orders as sales.

In an open letter, Billboard Editorial Director Bill Werde praises Jay-Z for continuing to innovate in music and branding — from his deals with tech companies to his Budweiser-sponsored concert.

“They’ve helped build Jay’s brand and paved a path for the business and brands to think even bigger about partnerships,” he writes.

However, despite Jay’s innovative Samsung deal, Billboard cannot accept his pre-sales totals.

In part, he writes:

“But our role as the chart of record is to set the rules, and hopefully even raise the level of play. It is in this spirit that I say 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 missive also reveals how Jay-Z could have benefited from having his albums counted by Nielsen SoundScan. He writes:

“Had Jay-Z and Samsung charged $3.49 — our minimum pricing threshold for a new release to count on our charts — for either the app or the album, the U.S. sales would have registered. And ultimately, that’s the rub: The ever-visionary Jay-Z pulled the nifty coup of getting paid as if he had a platinum album before one fan bought a single copy.”

In the end, Werde said that they are open for changes with how they tabulate songs and albums for the Billboard charts.

“Billboard will find the right balance and metric to chart brand-driven album distribution just as we’ve found the right metrics for everything from the 78s that played on your grandparents’ Victrola to your mom and dad’s 8-track to your kid’s fascination with the new Miley Cyrus video on VEVO,” he writes.

We don’t think this will hurt Jay-Z in any way. There’s no doubt that ‘Magna Carta Holy Grail’ is going to sell past a million copies — counted or not.

We’ll just have to see how all of this pans out when the app and album arrives in stores next month.

Next: Top 10 Jay-Z Songs

Watch Jay-Z Latest ‘Magna Carter’/ SamSung Commercial

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