Jay Z’s 4:44, an album you can’t listen to unless you’re a Tidal subscriber, has gone platinum. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) made the announcement this morning, less than a week after the album’s release.
Few albums go platinum, which certifies a record has been sold 1 million times, in less than a week, especially digital-only albums. The RIAA didn’t even count streams toward a gold or platinum album certification until last year, when it made 1,500 track streams equivalent to one album sale.
4:44 was released on June 30th exclusively to Tidal subscribers and Sprint customers. Anyone who hadn’t signed up for Tidal prior to the album’s release wasn’t able to listen to it, unless they were also a Sprint customer. On Monday, that barrier was eliminated, with the album made available to all Tidal subscribers.
Still, it’s unclear how many subscribers Tidal even has. In 2016, the company claimed it had 3 million subscribers, but a report this year claimed that it had been deliberately inflating subscriber numbers.
Not all of 4:44’s sale numbers came from Tidal streams. On Sunday, a number of 4:44 albums were made available to download for free with the voucher code “sprint,” which is still active as of today. In this case, Sprint paid for these free albums, which means the downloads still count toward the album’s platinum certification.
Back in 2013, Jay Z sold a million copies of Magna Carta Holy Grail to Samsung to give to Samsung Galaxy users for free, prompting the RIAA to change its rules to allow the Samsung downloads to count toward certification as soon as the album was released. Magna Carta Holy Grail also went platinum.
According to Billboard, 4:44 will be released on Apple Music and iTunes this week.
SOURCE: The Verge – Lizzie Plaugic