UPDATED: Jay-Z’s 13th and latest studio album, “4:44,” has been certified platinum by the RIAA, based purely on Tidal streaming and Sprint download numbers, less than six days after its June 30 release. The news was announced officially on Wednesday morning (July 5) by both the RIAA and Jay’s label, Roc Nation, although judging by the photo of him with RIAA CEO Cary Sherman, it may have passed the mark (or been anticipated) much earlier.
“Props to JAY, he’s done it again! Another Platinum album adds to an already iconic career,” Sherman said in a statement.
According to Roc Nation’s release, all 13 of Jay’s studio albums are certified platinum, more than any other hip-hop artist — as well as four other platinum albums in collaboration with Kanye West, Linkin Park and R. Kelly.
The RIAA began incorporating streaming numbers into album certifications on Feb. 1, 2016, using a formula similar to that of Nielsen Music’s whereby 1,500 on-demand audio and/or video song streams = 10 track sales = 1 album sale (the organization began incorporating streaming numbers into single certifications in 2013). A rep for the organization told Variety it does not break down its certification numbers — at least not publicly — and at press time a rep for Tidal had not responded to Variety‘s request for clarification.
However, a source close to the situation said that “a sale counts toward a certification if purchased directly by the customer — or a business can purchase the album or song and offer it to fans, who must take affirmative steps to acquire the album or song. Fans participated, took action and downloaded Jay-Z’s album offered by Sprint.” In other words, the arrangement sounds similar to Jay’s 2013 deal with Samsung for “Magna Carta: Holy Grail,” which saw the company purchasing a million downloads of that album. (An earlier version of this article incorrectly omitted the Sprint download component.)
“4:44” was released just after midnight on June 30, exclusively to Tidal and Sprint members — and in a move that angered many fans, people who signed up for Tidal after the album’s release initially could not access it, although that decision was reversed and it was made available to all Tidal members on Monday. The album is expected to be made available physically and on other services — a source close to the situation confirmed that one will be Apple Music — this Friday (July 7), after its week of exclusivity on Tidal ends.