Jay-Z’s ‘Magna Carta Holy Grail’: Billboard Confirm Samsung Sales Won’t Count

Published: Friday 21st Jun 2013 by Sam

Jay-Z rocked the music world this week with the announcement of new album ‘Magna Carta Holy Grail’.

Hailing the arrival of “new rules”, the Roc Nation mogul underlined his point by confirming that the project will be launched in partnership with Samsung, who give 1 million copies of the LP away to users of Galaxy S III, Galaxy S 4, and Note II on July 4th by way of a specially created app (which will be available to download earlier on June 24th). Thereafter, the project will receieve a traditional release on July 7th.

Many would agree that the out-of-the-box campaign is, in many ways, as innovative as it perceives itself to be. Yet, for all the Hov hoopla, one question became a constant once the dust had settled: will the million units count towards Mr Carter’s first week sales on the Billboard 200?

 Well, wonder no more because the answer awaits below, as too does a small preview of the project’s material…

As we envisioned, Billboard have confirmed that the 1 million “free” units will not count towards the LP’s total tally.

Billboard editor Bill Werde explains (while still praising the rapper’s ambition) that this is due to the fact that Samsung have ultimately covered the cost of the “free” units – buying them in bulk at a reported price point of $5 each. Sources claim this $5 million spend forms part of a bigger $20 million deal the technology firm has with the 43-year-old.

Viewed this way, Werde states that -given the way album totals are tallied at present – it’s virtually impossible to count units that were bought by a multi-national corporation in the same manner they would units bought by the general public. Yes, albums are still being “bought”. However, it’s the very different ways here that is at the center of discussion.

Werde, who says it was not easy turning down Jay-Z’s request to include the download sales, adds in his insightful open letter:

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. (He may have done even better than that — artists generally get paid a royalty percentage of wholesale. If Jay keeps every penny of Samsung’s $5 purchase price, he’d be more than doubling the typical superstar rate.) But in the context of this promotion, nothing is actually for sale.

When Jay’s “Magna Carta Holy Grail” hits (traditional) retailers and fans have the chance to express their support and interest by buying it, we’ll obviously count those sales. I’ve been told that label sources expect first-week sales of the album to be in line with the 400,000-450,000 his recent albums have shifted. That will almost certainly give Jay his lucky 13th No. 1 on the Billboard 200.


A fascinating vision on Jay’s end, yet a plausible reason as to why it can’t wholly “be”.

Still, this clash between new rules and old bring to the surface fresh (and necessary) debate about what charts mean and how they should be tallied in an ever-changing music industry. As we’ve seen with the recent (and meaty) inclusion of streaming in the charting equation, there is a lot of shape-shifting taking place. Hence, we wouldn’t be surprised if the impact of Jay’s idea echoes into reality for artists in the future.

For now, though, sales counted or not, Jigga will no doubt be laughing all the way to the bank (and the top of the charts). More power to him.

Check out this new Samsung commercial for ‘Magna Carta’, featuring new material, below…

Your thoughts?

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  1. Valerie June 21, 2013


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  2. Navy Sailor June 21, 2013

    Sounds fair!

  3. Bey Fan June 21, 2013

    Who cares if it counts towards his first week sales??

    The was a great move on his part….

  4. Meena June 21, 2013

    Im guessing he will do 400k first week

  5. IDK June 21, 2013

    Well thats fair. 🙂

  6. Gregg June 21, 2013

    Whats up with these rappers referring to themselves with biblical meaning…. JayZ call himself HOVA, the whole holy grail thing Kanye naming himself yeezus….you dudes need to humble yourselves…..’before the fall goes pride’

  7. Rosie June 21, 2013

    It’s fair. It’ll still do big numbers though.

  8. Lemme P*** in Your B**** June 21, 2013

    Sounds Very Fair

  9. NΛVI June 21, 2013

    good… Cause it this was ciara for example this means her album would go platinum in the first week.

    • FAF June 21, 2013

      And we all know R**** aint got a chance of a iceberg of P*** in HELL 😆 230 being her BIGGEST opening week. FLOP 😆 and Jay bought all those…

  10. Jay Jay June 21, 2013

    Good!!!! But artists/labels can sell there album as low as $3.49 and it will count towards billboard?

    • FAF June 21, 2013

      OFC, or 5 euro in r**** case.. 😆

    • DOSSOME June 21, 2013

      Simply put,a million people buying 1 album each at $3.49>>>>>>1 person buying a million albums at $5…i’m sure you understand that much better

  11. . : : h 2 o : : . June 21, 2013

    It’ll still do very good..

  12. Paula Deen June 21, 2013

    Someone tell this field s**** to get back out to the fields and have his wife to clean around the barn.

    • the best dancer June 21, 2013

      As soon as u get back to the trailer park and unmarry ur 13 yr old cuzin Paula

  13. FAF June 21, 2013

    So basically he had Samsung waste their f****** money? 😆 what was the point?

    • Cici Slaaaaays June 21, 2013

      the realest commenter on here. Next to me of course.

      • Navy Sailor June 21, 2013

        B**** please. Both of y’all are delusional d**** riding queens. F*** outta here. 😆

  14. Watch June 21, 2013

    Shame on him. What kind of insanity tells you that buying your own albums could ever count. It’s one thing to sell it for a one dollar but buying it yourself is cheap. Now Samsung wasted their money just so he could try and compete with Wayne and Em.

    • Tresa June 21, 2013

      I thought I were the only one who thought that!!!!

  15. BFoxx June 21, 2013

    He’ll be fine, I’m pretty sure a lot of his fan base that will buy the album don’t even have Samsung phones in the first place so he should still be fine.

  16. TaylorSwift1Stan June 21, 2013

    Uhmm I happened to be a very huge fan of his maybe its because of my bro who has all his EP’s. He will do great maybe around 400K plus. Its already platinum with or without BB approval.

  17. HOTSTUFF June 21, 2013

    LMAO. They should do the same to the copies that PEPSI will purchase of Beyweavece’s album when it’s released.

    • TaylorSwift1Stan June 21, 2013

      Not from a Rihoena stan. You guys shouldn’t be talking about albums babe 🙂

  18. HOTSTUFF June 21, 2013



    http :// www . billboard . com /articles/columns/the-juice/1560092/op-ed-when-beyonces-inspiration-turns-into-imitation


    • TaylorSwift1Stan June 21, 2013

      people say the little monsters Are the worst stans but look at this flop ass b**** “@HotStuff”
      The Worst stan bases
      1. Navy
      3.Little Monsters
      5.C.Squad(Flop ass stans)
      6.Madonna Stans
      7.Barbz(Dumb Stans)
      8.KatyKats(Basic stans by the way)
      10. Warriors(pretty much irrelevant)

      Taylor Stans are Sweet we are just provoked until we lash back

      • James June 21, 2013

        Their all crazy with no lives.

  19. Lovebird June 21, 2013

    Ah Yasss, I’m so happy, that’ll mean it’ll FLOP. Yass, so here for Flop Z to be flopping. The truth is musical genius Kanye West has been carrying this illiterate drug dealer this whole time, and now no Kanye means Jay Flop will FLOP. I have been given life, thank you Billboard.

    • ATL June 21, 2013

      Lol, jay z has always averaged 500K in his first week with or without kanye. You british people are so ignorant!! He has the most number one albums on the billboard charts with 12 after the beatles(14). All of jay z albums went platinums. You people go do your research before commenting. I’m not even that type of n**** to be commenting on posts and s***. You british people are ignorant as f***.

    • Bey Fan June 21, 2013

      but its projected to sell the close to the same amount as Kanye??

      And whether it counts towards his first week sales or not… its still a million albums he sold.

  20. Mark111 June 21, 2013

    You queens are stupid. I’m sure Jay doesn’t give two shitsand a p*** about billboard stats cause 1) He got the cash (whats really matters). 2) Samsung gets it’s marketing. And 3) Jay is gonna do 400k anyways, plus the mill, the album is already a success. It’s not that fair cause Gaga did the same with Amazon Cloud promo.

    • Tresa June 21, 2013

      If he did’nt care, do you really think he would have had his people, beg billboard, why write billboard a letter, if he did’nt care…

  21. James June 21, 2013

    Uhm k

  22. ratedxxx(my favs stays on)) June 21, 2013

    first of all that’s not the same deal gaga had with amazon….amazon bought the albums full price from gaga’s record company, and they chose to sell the album for 99cents..

    amazon wasnt giving the albums away for free……

    and we all know how shady the carters are…his dumb ass probably though giving away 1 million album for free was going to count to his album sales….

    and I’m shocked that lately billboard hasnt been kissing the carters asses…..

    never been a fan of joe camel, after nas murdered him i never looked at his ass the same..

    • xedos June 21, 2013

      no difference ,99 cent and free same s***

  23. HOTSTUFF June 21, 2013

    LOL. Taylors Swift’s fans will always be mad cause it must be hard to live with the fact that one of Rihanna’s #1 singles overshadows Taylors’ whole career :/….Taylor be selling all those albums in the US (selling her one night stand stories to all the white country s****, just like her) and despite that she stays in Rihanna’s umbrella SHADOW. LMFAO.

    • Rosie June 21, 2013

      And the Red Tour will STILL outgrow R****’s. a TRUE stadium artist.

  24. xedos June 21, 2013

    He’s still making 5 million dollars who cares what billboard thinks. they count gaga’s .99 album the first week

  25. Bey Fan June 21, 2013

    Ppl are failing to realize that it’s still a million albums sold. He wins regardless….

  26. Tamar Stan June 21, 2013

    LMAO backfired in his big nose camel face. The Carter’s are so freakin shady. They are their own biggest hype men.

  27. Khia Stan June 21, 2013

    Carters stay cheating they way to the top! Hahahahahahah
    Billboard is sick of their fuckery LOL

    • Stan 4 the one u love June 21, 2013

      Khia is the most underrated rapper/lyricist of all time. I listen to her SO f****** much. Love that b****.

  28. Beyonce June 21, 2013

    I can’t stand billboard.

  29. Adele June 21, 2013

    Hell no that shouldn’t count. Why should it count, he didn’t sell those albums, they were purchased by Samsung. That man is to full of himself.

  30. the best dancer June 21, 2013

    This deal IS very similar to GaGa’s deal.

    Billboard changed the rules after the GaGa/ Amazon deal

    Prince is the real innovator tho….

    In 2004 Prince gave fans CDs at his shows… the charge for the CD was included as a percentage of the concert ticket.

    Prince went multipatinum b.c he is a BIG touring act and decided to do a big tour that year.

    Billboard changed the rules.

    This is a smart business deal for established and aging artists like Bon Jovi, Jayz for example.

    Bon Jovi still tours but the albums sales are way down. They SHOULD also do what Prince did in order to get new music out.

    The real question is….

    How relevant is BILLBOARD anymore????

    I mean they just got an R&B chart. They had r&b/ hip hop charts for ys as if hip hop and r&b are the same genre.

    Why should any URBAN act care about the “CHARTS”??

    I think this new era is all about touring, social media, and endorsement deals, etc..

    EXAmple : BRANDY’s album did not do very well but she was able to tour b/c of her loyal fanbase she has built over the yrs and thru social media.

    Brandy is also able to act and has new acting gigs now

    Rita Ora , Azaela Banks, and Iggy Azaela make money thru modeling.

    Bon Jovi did not even sell 110,000 first week for last album but the are a STADIUM act.

    Shouldn’t the music industry stop obsessing about charts??

    I think Prince had it right

  31. Gilberto June 21, 2013

    Billboard keeps throwing eggs at their faces. Who cares if they’re going to count these as sales or not? Jay-Z doesn’t give any f***. He’s laughing all the way to the bank. Samsung still is going to buy his albums, and he’ll get paid for them. In the end of the day, he’s winning.

  32. Gilberto June 21, 2013

    “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.”

    What’s wrong with that? Platinum Album means 1 million albums SHIPPED, not sold! You don’t need to sell any album to get a certification. LOL. Billboard is beyond dumb. Billboard doesn’t control RIAA, so why are they talking about certifications there? THE REACH! LMFAO.
    Billboard’s rules are pathetic.

  33. Janet stan June 21, 2013

    His rapipng is so obnoxious – he sounds exactly the same as he did 20 years ago. Never innovated, still doing those annoying “Ungh” noises in the background and his weak ass rhymes.

  34. RoyalKev June 21, 2013

    I must say that this is pretty fair, but I hate how things seem to backfire once it’s someone other than one of industry darlings looking to be given a green light to cut corners. Yea, Jay is respected as a mogul, but he doesn’t get the same chart love that say, Eminem would. Gaga’s .99 special and Madonna’s secret bundles allowed them to earn their last Billboard #1 albums. I’m sure someone over at Billboard would look the other way if this was Madonna masterminding this plan! Why is it ok to purchase in advance radio rotation with clear channel for a single boost, but you can’t do the same with album sales.

    This game is so strategic and crafty now. It’s random what gets a pass and what doesn’t. Streaming is earning songs like Harlem Shake a top slot on the Hot 100 left and right. That comes to no surprise because the general public can’t get any real receipts with this fraudulent activity. I don’t condone any artists taking shortcuts this way, but this favoritism has to end! This decade is screwing up the damn charts by the day and where only 3 years deep! Smh!

    • RoyalKev June 21, 2013

      *we’re only 3 years deep!

    • Ugh June 21, 2013

      So Jay-Z is not a media darling? LMAO delusional ass……maybe people are just tired of the f****** Carters.

      • TheMintTea June 21, 2013

        Artist have to do this now and days. It’s an entire different game now. What you got to understand is that this is 2013 not 1993. If you can get a deal via Clear Channel, or bundle deals or 99cent deals like you state, consider that a blessing. At least your able to get that cause NOT ALL artist are able to get that. Some artist withput it will only sell 80k or less … Big artist like Madonna, Gaga, Jay-Z and Beyoncé (who in case you live under a rock has Pepsi set to back up her new album, when it drops.) It’s all part of a new plan, a new way to generate sales and make that money! I praise whomever can get a deal like these to get them… It’s a privilege to get it. It’s just too bad Jay -Z can’t get the sales to go towards the Billboards charts maybe they will change their minds… who knows! I hope they do.

      • Ugh June 21, 2013

        Nothing you said has anything to do with my comment.

  35. RoyalKev June 22, 2013

    Nah, Jay Z’s no media darling. There are those people who’ve acquired success from working hard to obtain it and then their are those that seem to have it handed to them. I totally agree strongly with one point of yours though, people may indeed be tired of the Carters (winning)…

    @ TheMintTea
    If you can get a deal via Clear Channel, or bundle deals or 99cent deals like you state, consider that a blessing.
    This is not an option for 98% of the industry. I wouldn’t care if these offers were made available for one of my favs, I hate cheap victories. If you think it’s fair for only the few artists that have clout to have this advantage over the majority of artists making music today than you must not mind not getting variety at mainstream radio or artists inflating their album sales artificially.

    Some artist withput it will only sell 80k or less …
    Ok, so the selected few that are privileged should just be allowed to manipulate the charts? Someone that pulls in 500K from the buying public = artists that has a company buy 500K in advance? What’s your point?

    Big artist like Madonna, Gaga, Jay-Z and Beyoncé (who in case you live under a rock has Pepsi set to back up her new album, when it drops.) It’s all part of a new plan, a new way to generate sales and make that money!
    Really not too clear on this part. Beyonce has a Pepsi deal, that’s correct. Now if Pepsi went and found a way to have Billboard accept a cool 1 million copies of round 5 being purchased by them she should just consider herself lucky and this should be pardoned because its a great new way to generate money? I love B, but I’m not here for it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not exactly knocking these artists for trying to position themselves better in the music BUSINESS, I just personally think it screws up the charts.

    My point is that Madge may have LOSS OUT to Lionel Richie on the Billboard 200(had it not been for the bundles), Gaga may NOT have been in the record books for selling a million in one week (like all the albums that have done so prior to BTW) if it wasn’t for the Amazon deal. Madonna may NOT have landed a top 10 with GMAYL without her CC deal. The single did fly from 10 to 30-something after that initial week of top of the hour play. Yea, it’s easy to look the other way if Bey , Rih, Nicki, Britney, Justin Timberlake, Bruno or Adele (or any of our favs) are next in line for something like this! … But where’s Janet’s deal, where’s Usher’s, where’s Ciara’s, Miguel’s, Brandy’s or Kelly’s? .. And if their not entitled to one we should all over look the fact that they still have to produce sales that compete with artists that are. Gotcha!

    • Ugh June 22, 2013

      The fact that get Jay gets all these deals says he is indeed a media darling. He doesn’t work any harder than any other artist in the industry and that includes Bey. Media manipulation would have you believe so though. People are tired of the Carters “winning” because the rest of the industry is suffering.

      • RoyalKev June 22, 2013

        Jay getting the backing from major outlets willing to promote his product doesn’t have anything to do with chart manipulation. What goes in his pockets is really no ones business, the rules that are bending to have him excel on the charts is. What I’m not surprised by is the fact that he wasn’t granted the million certification, when so may others lately have abused the charts rules and regulations (indirectly or outright).

  36. wanoned June 22, 2013

    Makes no sense tho, Billboard has stated that sales need to meet the $3.49 minimum threshold in order to me counted. That would mean $0.99 album should not have been counted.

    • VegasGirl June 22, 2013

      The $3.49 thing was put in place after Gagas BTW launch. That $.99 thing was also used by AdamLambert on his first album and Rihanna’s Rated R but they didn’t yield as high of sales as BTW., if that’s what you’re referring to in your comment.

  37. Rach June 22, 2013

    Oh but I thought Jay and Bey could ‘bribe’ their way oit of anything according to some of you? Thats always the answer whenever they achieve anything.

  38. 2 chainz stan June 22, 2013

    POOR JAY Z WANTS ONE MILLION IN THE FIRST WEEK SO BAD. IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN. I am so glad that Beyonce is humble and beautiful and does not have to try hard like her arrogant husband!!!!!!!!!

  39. Shut up June 22, 2013

    Funny how ur a Taylor Stan saying ur the nicest fan base but bashing everyone else GOOD JOB!!!!

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