Yesterday (July 5), JAY-Z stunned everyone when his most recent album, titled 4:44, was certified platinum in less than a week’s time. Now we know how exactly he managed to do that. It turns out he pretty much took a play out of his Magna Carta Holy Grail playbook.
Back in 2013, Hov partnered with Samsung to drop MCHG. The tech company bought one million copies before the album’s release, so it was certified platinum the day it came out (the Recording Industry Association of America actually changed their rules for this allowance).
This time around, Hov teamed with the folks at Sprint. Roc Nation dropped 4:44 exclusively through Jay’s streaming service Tidal before making the project available for a “free” download to anyone who sent in their email address along with the code “SPRINT.” It was free for customers, but in actuality, Sprint had already paid for those albums.
Remarkably, no streams were counted on 4:44‘s short path to platinum status. According to a spokesperson for the RIAA, a sale of a song or album can be counted toward an RIAA certification as long as its bought by a customer or a company who buys it and then gives it to the customer. For the song or body of work to be counted as a sale, the customer has to take an active step to acquire the music—which folks did when they entered their email and a promotional code for 4:44.
Billboard reports that Roc Nation has confirmed 4:44‘s platinum status is by way of one million downloads. While no streams have been counted toward 4:44‘s position on the Billboard chart yet, they will be by the end of the week ending on July 6.
This can all get a bit complicated, but the important part is basically this: Hov’s taken home another huge W.