In response to the unusual marketing mechanics of Jay-Z’s new album, the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) revamps the old rules for Gold and Platinum certification to accommodate for the digitization of today’s media.
In an innovative marketing ploy, Samsung purchased one million copies of Jay-Z’s new album Magna Carta Holy Grail, to be doled out for free to Samsung customers, a move which all but guarantees Platinum status and which prompted the RIAA to revise the rules for certification.
The technicality in question is a 30-day waiting period before an album can become eligible for certification. According to Liz Kennedy, the RIAA’s Director of Communications and Gold & Platinum Program, “the 30-day rule exists to take into account potential returns of physical product – CDs, cassettes, vinyl, etc. that could be shipped to brick and mortar retailers and returned, in which case our auditors do not count the sales.” This puts digital sales in alignment with the rules created for the Digital Single Award in 2004. Kennedy continued:
Going forward, sales of albums in digital format will become eligible on the release date, while sales of albums in physical format will still become eligible for certification 30 days after the release date.
Not only do we believe it’s sensible and logical to align digital album rules with those we have maintained for digital singles since the program’s inception, we also consider today’s move in line with our larger efforts to modernize the G&P Program to reflect the new music marketplace.
Jaz-Z’s request that Billboard count those sales towards the Billboard 200 chart has been officially declined, though further deliberations regarding future “brand-bought sales” have been scheduled.