After the news broke that JAY-Z’s 4:44 went Platinum in less than six days, many people wondered how that was possible when it was only available to stream on TIDAL. It turns out, Sprint — the company partnered up with TIDAL to push the album — bought 1 million downloads.
Billboard reached out to JAY’s label Roc Nation, who told the outlet that the certification reflects 1 million downloads, and no streams were applied towards the certification.
According to an RIAA spokesperson, a sale can count towards a certification if purchased directly by the customer, or a business can purchase the album or song and offer it to customers. But like Sprint did, customers using the company must take affirmative steps to acquire the album or song by submitting an email address and promotional code. People seeking the album had to provide an email address and use the promotional code “SPRINT” to be able to download 4:44.
The RIAA revamped its Gold & Platinum Awards Program on February 1, 2016 to include tracks and streams. One equivalent album unit is equal to: one album sale, 10 tracks sold from an album, or 1,500 on-demand audio and/or video streams from an album.
Hov’s 2013 album, Magna Carta Holy Grail, was certified Platinum the day it came out thanks to a similar deal with Samsung.
(The original version of the article was published on July 5, 2017 at 9:14 a.m. PST and can be found below.)
Less than a week after its release, JAY-Z’s 13th studio album, 4:44, has been certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The milestone simultaneously broke the record for the most Platinum (or more) albums for any Hip Hop artist in music history. Even more impressive is the fact the album isn’t even available to anyone without TIDAL access, so the numbers are based entirely on streaming.
— RIAA (@RIAA) July 5, 2017
The news was announced early Wednesday morning (July 5) by the RIAA alongside JAY’s label, Roc Nation, and the plaque was presented by RIAA CEO Cary Sherman. According to a Roc Nation press release, Hov’s record-breaking accomplishment marks the Hip Hop mogul’s 13th studio solo album to break Platinum status. He’s also earned four other Platinum albums via collaborations — 2002’s The Best of Both Worlds and 2004’s Unfinished Business with R. Kelly, 2004’s Collision Course with Linkin Park, and 2011’s Watch The Throne with Kanye West.
JAY’s previous solo project, 2013’s Magna Carta Holy Grail, went Platinum the day of its physical release in the U.S. for shipments of 1,000,000 copies. It debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200, selling 528,000 copies its first week.
4:44 is expected to hit record stores and other streaming services on Friday (July 7), after its week of exclusivity on TIDAL ends.