Jay-Z's 'Magna Carta' Free Downloads Prompt Revision of RIAA Policy

Naomi McPherson

by Naomi McPherson

Published July 7, 2013


In the enigmatic promotional campaign by Samsung for Jay-Z's Magna Carta Holy Grail, the Brooklyn rapper and entrepreneur slated the album's release to be a landmark in the creation of "new rules". Turns out, he wasn't altogether wrong. Though it is officially scheduled to be released today, the album was given away for free to a million Samsung users in advance on July 4th.

Though Billboard has already decided not to count the free downloads towards Hov's first week sales, the Recording Industry Association of America has in turn decided to revise their policy to include giveaways in the first week's sales stats (traditionally, the Association counted digital downloads and purchases only for the first month's sales charts). The RIAA's Liz Kennedy said the following in a statement:

"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" [...]

"The reality is that how fans consume music is changing, the music business is changing as labels and artists partner with a breathtaking array of new technology services, and the industry's premier award recognizing artists' commercial achievement should similarly keep pace."

Samsung purchased 1 million copies of Hov's new album before it was even released, theoretically allowing the Brooklyn rapper to have a platinum album before most of the general public even knew that he was going to release one. It only seems right that Jay-Z would find what seems to be the most innovative way to change the rap game and, if even slightly, rattle the music industry to its foundation.

Via Rolling Stone

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