Jay-Z's "Magna Carta Holy Grail" Causes RIAA To Update Certification Policies

Samsung purchasing one million digital copies of Jay-Z's "Magna Carta Holy Grail" album has caused the RIAA to update the way it certifies gold and platinum albums.

In 2000, Jay-Z released the single "Change The Game." In 2013, Jigga's new material has caused the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) to change the way it certifies releases as gold and platinum. 

Last month, Samsung announced that it would be purchasing one million copies of Jay-Z's Magna Carta Holy Grail album, which would be available to its users for free. Hova's new album wouldn't be platinum upon release, however, because RIAA certification was only available 30 days after a project's release date. 

Today, the RIAA announced a change in its certification policy. "Going forward, sales of albums in digital format will become eligible on the release date, while sales of albums in physical format will still become eligible for certification 30 days after the release date," Liz Kennedy, Director, Communications and Gold & Platinum Program, RIAA, wrote on riaa.com today (July 1). Traditionallly, a release is certified gold once it sells 500,000 units and earns platinum status once it sells 1 million units. 

Kennedy writes that Samsung's "novel and creative marketing move...has rightly stimulated a healthy conversation about the sale’s meaning and implications for the modern music business." Kennedy writes that the 30-day certification rule was to account for returns of physical product, namely CDs, cassettes and vinyl version of a release. Digital sales are very rarely returned, though. According to Gelfand, Rennert & Feldman, the RIAA's auditing firm of more than 30 years, "digital returns on average account for less than two percent of sales included in reports provided by the labels for certification," Kennedy writes on RIAA.com.

On June 17, Jay-Z sent a tweet questioning the way sales of releases are reported in such music industry trade publications as Billboard.

In 2004, the RIAA created the Digital Single Award and did not impose a 30-day delay on certification given that there are very few digital returns. "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," Kennedy writes today, "we also consider today’s move in line with our larger efforts to modernize the G&P Program to reflect the new music marketplace."

RELATED: Jay-Z's "Magna Carta Holy Grail" Won't Go Platinum Before It Drops


  • Fressh

    Back in the 80's, big record companies would buy their own product in order to keep it on the shelves and increase airplay. Simple marketing folks, Jay-Z capitalized on his popularity and business sense and EVERYBODY AINT ABLE..

  • Anonymous

    "Leave the semantics alone. Through the deal he has sold 1m copies of his new project and should be certified because it is still a sale" Samsung is worth something like 28.5 billion. It was chump change for them to shell out 5 mill for Jay who basically has to do nothing to promote the album. He didn't physically sell 1 million units yet, or digitally sell 1 million on ITunes. I agree technology is changing, but if they want to overhaul it, then they should just get rid of retail all together.

  • Anonymous

    "Sometimes people don't open the CD and return it for something else" Most times if you buy something retail and open it, your stuck with it.

  • Marc

    So im wondering how much people read and comprehended this article. This article is NOT saying that Jay-Z changed anything as of this year as far as the RIAA goes. The RIAA is saying(if any of you paid attention) that they are not counting this first 1 million albums as sales because this is clearly promo for his album and the Galaxy S4. They will not start counting his sales until August 4th or 5th and at that point if he has actually sold 1 million units or digital downloads THEN he will go Platinum... Yall honestly think the RIAA would really just give him a Platinum Plaque off of this promo? We all know he will go Platinum regardless but he still got to play by the rules of sales. So stop calling him the GOAT or whatever because of this promo deal with Samsung.

    • Philly

      One correction, they will not wait "30 days" as they used to do, to certify the "digital sales" of the album if it reaches platinum or gold before the physical cd's do. In essence syncing their policy for digital album sales, so it is the same as there digital singles sales certification policy.

    • Anonymous

      so if i should have bought the album in stores but decided to download the album that samsung bought from jay z the sale won't count?

  • Philly

    Selling units to consumers and selling the rights to distribute exclusive content (an album) to a million people is 2 different things. I'm convinced people read how they want to interpret the news, and believe what they want to when it comes to their favorite rappers. Jay negotiated $5,000,000 for his album to be given to a million people. I guarantee he's not sharing the proceeds of the 5mil with the artists and producers who worked on MCHG. He'll let those royalties and publishing be paid from "actual" album sales. How did he come up with $5,000,000 as his number...."I lost a flip to Doug for 5 stacks, 2 commas, 6 0's"...thats how much it cost him to exit his deal with Def Jam/Universal (Doug Morris was CEO) to distribute Blueprint 3 through Roc Nation.

  • 666


  • jasonnn


  • FUCK the RIAA

    I don't care what RIAA does, Jay's final/real numbers will be the total figure post his 1 million FREE DOWNLOADS for Samsung users Any rapper can agree with a company to sell any amount of his/her records. Just because Jay thought of it first doesn't make him a god or some genius people!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Kizman

      Hip hop fans are by far the worst fans on the planet. In no other genre of music will you find the fans so easily turn their backs on the artist. Hip Hop fans are so hard to please. Once the artist makes it, the fans think they've sold out cuz they no longer live in the hood and they've cut of the leeches and the blood suckers. Some fans are so wack

    • p

      you're saying free downloads like he's not getting paid for it lol... he got 5 million richer from those "free downloads". I'm not even a huge fan of jayz but no doubt this move is genius and a game changer.. now watch everyone follow his foot steps

    • ETK

      then how come no rapper ain't done it yet, huh like it or not, he did change the game in some way

  • foreal

    Hova is a boss. i cant think of a rapper who could change RIAA policies.

    • ^

      That's a goddamn lie.

    • dentaldamboy

      Pac and Biggie were going to sign to cash money before Jay Z had them killed.

    • Dentaldamboy

      As an accountant for YMCMB, i can confirm Jay Z wouldn't be here today if Biggie was still alive. While Pac and Biggie were doin there thing in the 90's, Nas was right there with them with a classic album to back him. Jay was more like a sidekick. Nas solidified his spot in the game while the greats were here, Jay "solidified" his spot in the game after Biggie died, along with all the rhymes Jay Z stole from Biggie. There are only a couple of real kings in the game, and just because your bank account is overweight doesn't make you a legend in the game. Jay doesn't set trends, he just follows what's hot.

    • Anonymous

      fuck the RIAA

  • insanemacbeth

    JAY-Z = don.


    Big Guwop is the realest rapper and heres why. 1) all other rappers rap about being gangster shooting and killing but they havent done it. 2) Eminem raps about killing he hasnt. 3)Jay z raps in open letter about sending shots he hasnt. 4)Nas raps about how he is a queens thug but he wasn't. 5)Most of the rappers rap about stuff they havent done yet you all support them and say its real rap. 6)When rick ross does it you all claim he is fake and say its fake rap. This shows that hiphop fans are hypocritical and all these real hiphop fan wanna be's are just some unjustified haters whose opinions are just as irrelevent as the swag fag rapper fans. BIG GUWOP KILLED A MAN HE WAS A DRUG DEALER BEFORE RAPPER HE HAS STREET CREDENTIALS HE IS THE ONLY RAPPER THAT RAPS ABOUT FACTS THERE FORE BIG GUWOP IS THE REALEST RAPPER IN THE RAP GAME AND THATS A FACT!

  • xxss9


  • Art Brooks

    U can delete cassette from that.

  • damn

    Dude just blatantly tried to buy his album platinum, with an advertising campaign, this will be seen, and copied. Cheers HOV, music is about to get alot worse, you dick.

  • zxsss4


  • xx004


  • Anonymous

    cheap fucking attention whore can't make music or words anyone but white retards cares about so... this. and Rick Rubin's Bozo the Fucking Clown like pubic hair!!

  • Rap Fan

    To all the people who are butt hurt and saying this is the only way Jay can sell 1 million copies. I think its smart that he made more money on this deal than he probably did on his past albums. He sold 1 million copies to Samsung and that doesn't include people who will buy the album from Itunes and in-store as well. Smart business moves

  • Realtalk

    Since when has anyone been able to return a CD or Record after opening the package?? Thats a stupid excuse for a 30 day wait on RIAA certification.

    • Philly

      CD returns are based on "breakage" during shipping and distribution. If FYE receives 1,000 cds and 100 are damaged from shipping and handling that creates a "return" to the label on the wholesale purchases.

    • Anonymous

      lol, have you ever bought a physical copy of music? I have, sometimes the CD is fvcked up. Sometimes people don't open the CD and return it for something else. Where do you people live to ask these questions?

  • Anonymous

    This dude sure knows how to hype up bs... its like making a car for 3 grand and selling to it consumers for 30 g's... fools. add on facebook @ Thachronicizback

  • Esq.

    Wow...just...wow. Only Jay-Z, lbs.

  • Happy

    No matter what Jay does, he will never Be better than Nas. Never! Nas is the greatest of all time. Jay always talk about hip hop is like a sport. Well think about it guys, when you have been the best and you have everyone come at you to take your championship or crown such as 2Pac, Biggie, and Jay Z did to Nas think about that sport scenario. They all came at Nas. That is why I will always say Nas is the best. In a sport everyone team or individual wants t dethrone a champions. Everyone! ! Biggie said it best....you are nobody until someone kills you! Pound for pound Nas lyrics are deeper than all those dudes. Dude, writing skills are impeccable! Big said it, PAC said it and definitely Jay said it! Case is closed on who is the greatest MC! No other rappers are compared with these all time greats. I like all of the dudes styles, Nas is just better without a bunch of radio beats. Nas is the true King of New York and the hold rap sh-t in my opinion. He is the last nigga alive and that is official!

    • Anonymous

      everyone comes at Jay too. your rant proves it, they both legends in they on regard and they cool friends so who gives a fuck when it comes to comparing the two?

    • Anonymous

      An athlete's greatness is measured by his accolades, you fucking imbecile.

    • Anonymous

      Why are you still talking about this...no one gives a shit lmao

  • Anonymous

    "a deal which consisted of selling 1 million albums to samsung" Still a business deal and totally different from "physically" selling a million copies you brainless loser.

    • Anonymous

      First off, you're not arguing with me down there. Secondly, you're still stuck on the old way to sell music when we are witnessing a change of protocol and technology. We've already gone through how they certify now, with distribution orders and not necessarily counter/cashier sales (due to superstores), but can you look at your smartphone and never have thought that someone would one day sell their album through an app? They just changed the RIAA rules for streams. Why wouldn't they for this? Obviously, the hits are through the roof for the RIAA to even consider it. Leave the semantics alone. Through the deal he has sold 1m copies of his new project and should be certified because it is still a sale. They are not free copies, it is not a mixtape. You do know that when other businesses, like Sprite (Coca-Cola), give/gave away music for the bottle caps that they actually bought that music right? going to Bleecker St crate digging>>>>>copping digital music but I'm not hating on the new technique, I can see Tyler having an app that does some weird ass video game that unlocks an album (just threw out a million dollar idea). What say you?

  • Anonymous

    that nigga jay is changing the game with this one.. hate him or love him, you can't deny that he's one hell of a businessman.. mad props..

  • Trunks

    Jay-Z fans are just like Dallas Cowboys fans. If you know a Cowboys fan then you know what I mean. Lol. Y'all sweat everything Jay-Z do yet none of y'all follow in his footsteps with success. You just want to party. SMH. Dig, y'all keep calling him a genius you should consider the people that's in the background calling the shots. He's a hoe. The Nets hoed him for a tenth of 1% of ownership stake in the Nets and y'all ate it up like he bought the building. LOL. Y'all will fall for anything. Don't worry Jay will be selling y'all other shit soon to eat up. Lol. Lame asses.

    • Anonymous

      yea a stupid ass analogy keep it g.. the nigga made a deal to sale a million records b4 his album dropped.. thas a win any way u slice it.. wit yo silly ass

    • stfu

      Horrible analogy...Cowboys stay losing and Jay-Z stays winning!

  • Anonymous


  • Difficult takes a day, impossible takes a week

    This nigga changing the rules of the music biz with ease.

  • the truth hurts

    Jay-z is a fuckin joke. Sold 1 million copies to Samsung, to make sure he is Platnium ? Making a sneaky deal with Samsung for them to buy your record is pathetic. It shows nothing about your shitty album. Other artist work there ass off to get heard, and sell albums, with respect and music. Your paying and making deals so companies will take 1 millions CDS, So there rest of the world thinks, hey Jay-z's album sold 1 million copies first week, it must be a good album cause people are buying it. WRONG. Jay-z is in the same catagory as McDonalds. FAKE and COMMERCIAL ! Come on, Only idiots believe McDonalds is 100 % all Beef. So only simple minded idiots will believe the hype ! Im glad the RIAA shut him down, he doesnt deserve it. FUCK THE INDUSTRY !

    • Anonymous

      what do FAKE and COMMERCIAL mean? just because you run mcdonalds dont mean you eat they food. this is business and its good business respect it.

    • BP

      the truth hurts? no, no. your IQ level is what hurts

    • Mr. Awesome

      It's called "Distribution" smartass. It's no different from a having Walmart/Best Buy/Amazon selling an album; just that he got ONE company to buy 1 million all at once. What's the number one goal of a business? To make a profit! And since Jay-Z IS a business, man, what would you expect?

    • Anonymous

      your fav rappers only wish they could make a deal like that!

    • C

      Damn dude, calm down. LOL. "Sold 1 million copies to Samsung, to make sure he is Platinum?" It's called business bro. Check his discography, I seriously doubt Jay cares if he goes platinum anymore. So stop being so emotional. "FAKE and COMMERCIAL" Lol nigga must not have heard Reasonable Doubt.

  • Anonymous

    So does this now mean that Magna Carta Holy Grail will go platinum upon release?

    • Esq.

      Essentially, yes. If Samsung purchases the 1mil promised, then the album will be certified platinum upon release.

  • Leon

    Truly genius marketing move by Jay.

  • Anonymous

    "He sold those albums he didnt give it to Samsung for free" It was part of a business deal you idiot.

  • Anonymous

    Who's the BEST RAPPER OF ALL TIME? is it Eminem, Tupac, Biggie, Jay-z, or Nas? Vote Now @ bigblogtalk.com/whosthebest ^^^^^^ Vote now & Download the hottest songs of the week for free! Thanks for the support!

  • Joey Bada$$

    Hov why u aint sign me. Fucking faggot.

  • Jason

    I think that with all the illegal down loads these days the Haters and the fans were going to get it for free online anyway. So all Jay did was create a slick way to get paid up front for all the illegal down loads. I don't have a samsung cell but I bet I have that album for free within 2 hours of it being released to the samsung users.

  • Anonymous

    The album wasn't physically purchased by anybody so no way it should be certified platinum. These sneaky business tactics are what makes the music industry foul. Jay should know better than anybody that with his track record for going platinum, he shouldn't need to do this. Put it in stores like everybody else and see how the album performs. If it flops it flops, but don't beg for platinum certification when Samsung merely bought in bulk. That doesn't count.

  • Philly

    This is sort of a misleading article in that Liz Kennedy's blog is indirectly related to Jay'Z's Samsung deal. It caused the RIAA to examine its practices, and aligned the digital album sales certification with its digital singles sales certification period. Kudos to Jay, however, this does not mean the RIAA will be considering his new LP a platinum release at day one. Jay-Z is not selling actual units, Samsung paid for the rights to give away "free" a bulk of his digital LP. Whether its 30 days or 1 day, these sales will not be counted via Soundscan or the RIAA. The Samsung released content via the MCHG app are the equivalent of "promotional copies". He is a genius at creating conversation and moving culture!

    • Kryptondavillain.

      Sit down and watch fool. What do you mean? He sold those albums he didnt give it to Samsung for free, whether they throw the albums away or give it to their customers for free, the album shipped 1000000 units.

  • Assassin221

    Still not clear from the article if Jay's scheme counts as platinum or not? The editorial on Jay said it wouldn't. And it shouldn't. I don't know why hip-hop heads would want this shit to count. Platinum is supposed to be a status that means you generated enough respect, excitement, loyalty, artistry, etc. that 1 million hip-hop fans were willingly to pay for your product. That's supposed to mean something to the culture and be a real artistic achievement. Why, as hip-hop heads, would you want your monetary vote to be turned over to fucking Samsung? People must WANT corporations to run this shit.

  • Anonymous

    Since 1999, he hasn't sold under 420K in the first week. #Facts

  • Kryptondavillain

    You faggots should have it at the back of your minds that all the money from the 1000000 albums sold went into Jay-z's pocket. Major labels like Columbia, Atlantic didn't get shit off the deal. #Nas lost.

    • Rap Fan

      That Nas and Jay battle was rigged for promotion. Also its 2013, that Jay/Nas lost shit is played out...

    • Anonymous

      nas lost? it's not 2001 anymore. they're both friends now and they're both legends that made great impacts in hip hop.. get over it..

  • Kryptondavillain

    Hov sold 1000000 albums, $5 a pop. Do the mathematics you Nas stand. hahahahah!!!

  • Kryptondavillain

    I meant Nas stans. hahaha!!

  • Kryptondavillain

    Yeah!!!!!!! So as of now Jay-Z has sold 1,000,000 copies of his album. Not only is HOV the best rapper of all time, he is also an innovator of business tactics. #newrules!!!

  • Anonymous



    im so sick of the news on this illuminati piece of shit. Fuck jay z hes just a manipulating money hungry bastard. He aint truthfull and caring of his fans like the ymcmb empire fuck gay z

  • new rules

    SO rich artists like Jayz, Gaga, Timberlake, Beyonce, Wayne, Taylor, Rihanna, Drake, and katy perry will now be able to BUY certification with endorsement deals? I think the RIAA just became irrelevant today.

  • Anonymous

    Mgn crt more like jign frt

  • Anonymous

    jay-z musta been crying and playing politics... if he doesnt go plat is a he still a rich faggot? yeah he needs that certification for his next batch of hollow rhymes ya boy changed the rules went plat on samsung.. something like that im sure. getting a big check isnt enough he needs the adulation of DOING NUMBERS. this is only music ppl.

    • Anonymous

      every jay-z album is plat fool i dont think he eally care that much about another one, im sure the millions of dollars is what he really cares about

    • Hurts, Don't it????

      "been crying and playing politics" "needs that certification for his next batch of hollow rhymes" Wow, bitter much??? Dude whole post is just extra upset at Jay for doing his thing.. Lol is it the music you don't like? Or the business acumen? You probably don't listen to Jay (or maybe you do, and that's why you so mad) true definition of a hater = Anon

  • dentaldamboy

    Gay Z will go wood.

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