Jay-Z went platinum with his 13th studio album 4:44 in less than a week — but, going against all music industry logic, it hasn’t even hit the Billboard 200. So, what gives?
There’s at least a few key factors at play here:
1.) Tidal x Sprint – The surprise album became available at 444.tidal.com as a free download for anyone with the promotional code “SPRINT” and corresponding email address combination. The words “Jay-Z” and “free” naturally caused a downloading frenzy, with each of the 1,000,000+ dls directly attributing to his RIAA platinum status.
2.) Tidal didn’t report to Nielsen – Tidal reportedly refused to turn in 4:44 download/streaming numbers to Nielsen Music. Whether this was an intentional move, or an oversight, is unsure… But, Jay-Z can’t receive an official nod from Billboard until his camp elects to submit said data. Or, until Apple Music and Amazon numbers come in.
3.) Tidal snubbed Spotify – There’s no denying, streaming service Spotify is king, and Tidal isn’t a fan. However, keeping 4:44 off of the popular streaming service could likely cost Hov — not only in streams but in overall hype for the album.
But, as Jay-Z says in “Bam” — “Sometimes you need your ego, gotta remind these fools who they effin’ with.”
According to a RIAA spokesperson, the album’s platinum status is legit:
“Under the program’s rules, the artist needs to be compensated and there needs to be demonstrated consumer demand in the United States, either for an on-demand stream or a sale. A sale counts toward a certification if purchased directly by the customer or a business can purchase the album or song and offer it to fans who must take affirmative steps to acquire the album or song. Fans participated, took action and downloaded Jay-Z’s album offered by Sprint.”