Jay-Z has been buzzing in the media ever since the airing of the epic Samsung “Magna Carta” commercial, and the preview of the Magna Carta Holy Grail album. Hov’s moves of late with the telecommunications giant land the Brooklyn business mogul and rapper a spot on the cover of Billboard magazine this week.
The cover story, cleverly titled “Jay-Z’s New Blueprint,” focuses on the Samsung deal and why Billboard won’t count the 1 million pre-orders as sales, while still regarding how revolutionary the idea is. The piece also reveals how Jay-Z and Samsung could have paid a fee that would have made an allowance for the album downloads to land on the charts.
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.
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.
Although it appears Jay won’t be writing any “#newrules” regarding this supposed sales coup he made, it should be safe to assume that he’ll still sell boatloads of his twelth studio album on when it drops next month.
Check out the full cover on the next page.