RIAA Updates Rules Because Of Jay-Z’s Magna Carta Holy Grail

imagesRules are made to be broken. In light of Samsung purchasing one million copies of Jay-Z’s Magna Carta Holy Grail album before its release, the RIAA has decided to update how it certifies the sales of digital albums.  The announcement was made in a post on the RIAA’s website. Initially, SoundScan, which monitors album sales, contended that Hova would be unable to claim Samsung’s purchases as instant platinum status because it didn’t count bulk sales. However, the RIAA, whose Gold & Platinum (G&P) Program awards gold and platinum certifications, sighted a minimum of 30 days of availability before an album could be considered for a gold or platinum plaque. But, they admit that rule has became antiquated because when an album is sold digitally, very rarely is it actually returned. Says the RIAA: When we first created the Digital Single Award in 2004, we elected not to impose any 30-day rule because there are very few digital returns. According to our auditing firm, digital returns on average account for less than two percent of sales included in reports provided by the labels for certification – most digital retailer Terms of Use/Service allow users to return products only under limited circumstances. Also at the time in 2004, sales of digital albums were virtually non-existent and accounted for a small fraction of overall digital sales. Fast forward a decade and that’s obviously no longer the case. We think it’s time for the RIAA – and Gelfand, Rennert & Feldman – to align our digital song and album certification requirements. That’s why today we are officially updating this rule in our G&P Program requirements. 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. That said, it seems like Jay-Z’s new album is basically already platinum after all. #newrules, indeed. 

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