Jay Z is quite the influencer, but it wasn’t like his “new rules” were going to be embraced with open arms by everyone. Billboard for instance, didn’t count the first million sales of Hov’s Magna Carta Holy Grail because they were purchased in bulk by Samsung in a non-traditional deal.
The veteran music mogul wasn’t going to let the opposition stop his July 4 rollout, though. “If you’re not with the changing times, you’re irrelevant to me. I’m going to move on,” Jay told hip-hop journalist Elliott Wilson in an interview posted on the rapper’s Life + Times YouTube page, where Wilson hosts a regular segment called “The Truth.”
Hov likened Billboard to an elected government official. “They work for us,” he said, pointing to their chart system. “Their job is to encourage the business to bring in new revenue streams, not to discourage me.”
The way it worked was Jay sold one million copies of MCHG to Samsung for $5 apiece. The electronic giant then distributed the purchased albums to their customers for free via a special app on their Galaxy smartphones. Billboard declined to count those specific sales, because they came in bulk. The RIAA however, chose to instantly crown the album platinum.
Though Magna Carta didn’t hit #1 on the Hot 100 after the Samsung sale, the LP has held down the top spot on the albums chart for the past two weeks after it was made available on iTunes and physical retail outlets on July 9.
Still, Jay says he wasn’t trying to trick the system and defends his deal with Samsung, especially in a musical climate where albums sales aren’t what they once were. “What am I supposed to do? Just wait and sit here… and wait until it gets to zero before I do something,” he asked Wilson as the pair sat inside of New York’s Yankee Stadium, where Hov and Justin Timberlake performed a pair of sold-out concerts this past weekend.
“I went out on my own and I made a deal. I made a straight, above-the-board deal,” he argued, before revealing that he intended to first do this type of deal with he and Kanye’s Watch the Throne LP.
“Kanye gets really excited when he makes music, and he was ready to put out ’H.A.M.’ and he was ready to put out music. I wanted to hold the whole thing and give it to the world at one time and do this sort of deal,” he said of their 2011 rollout. “When that didn’t go through, I was like, ’OK.’ I just held it for myself.”