Billboard chart won't count Jay Z sales from Samsung album deal
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Billboard's weekly music chart will not include the 1 million copies of rapper Jay Z's upcoming album that were sold to electronics maker Samsung as part of a promotion, the U.S. trade magazine said on Friday.
Jay Z, 43, announced last weekend that his album "Magna Carta Holy Grail" could be downloaded for free on July 4 - three days before its public release - to the first 1 million users of Samsung smartphones who had downloaded a special app.
Bulk album sales that are give away for free are not counted in total sales and not eligible to be included on the music charts even if an artist and a record label are paid for them, according to Billboard's rules.
The magazine's editorial director, Bill Werde, said Billboard rejected Jay Z's request that the Samsung promotional sales be counted toward the Billboard 200 chart because "in the context of this promotion, nothing is actually for sale."
"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," Werde said.
The magazine in 2011 also instituted a minimum price of $3.49 for an album to be considered for its chart in the first four weeks after release, which came in response to retailers and record labels who were selling albums for less than $1 to inflate sales.
Werde said Jay Z should earn his 13th No. 1 album anyway, as "Magna Carta Holy Grail" is forecast to sell between 400,000 and 450,000 units in its first week.
But Werde said Billboard will discuss tweaking its album-counting policy because of the prevalence of branding deals in the industry and the changing nature of how music is consumed.
"Just because the Billboard 200 has been based purely on sales of an album for the entirety of the life of the chart doesn't mean it must always remain so," Werde said.
The magazine's Hot 100 songs chart has been changed in recent years to include digital downloads and online streaming figures as consumers turn away from traditional terrestrial radio and buying physical copies of songs.
"Magna Carta Holy Grail" will be released by Universal Music Group's Roc-A-Fella Records.
(Reporting by Eric Kelsey; Editing by Piya Sinha-Roy and Paul Simao)