Jay-Z’s deal with Samsung to distribute 1m copies of his upcoming ‘Magna Carta Holy Grail’ album to smartphone owners for free has been praised for its business logic, but those sales won’t count towards the US chart. Billboard‘s Bill Werde has explained why not, suggesting it’s a one-way deal with precedents. “When Best Buy committed to and paid upfront for 600,000 copies of Guns N’ Roses’ “Chinese Democracy” in 2008, those albums didn’t count as sales – not until music fans actually bought them,” writes Werde, noting that in this case, Samsung owners won’t be doing that. “In the context of this promotion, nothing is actually for sale.” However, Billboard is launching a consultation exercise with “top managers, retailers, brands, publishers, label executives and others” – note the order of that list – to discuss whether its chart rules need more tweaks to stay relevant in the modern music industry.
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