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Jay-Z’s ‘Magna Carta Holy Grail’ Prompts RIAA to Change Certification Rules

Jason Kempin, Getty Images

Jay-Z really is writing the new rules. In a move inspired by the release strategy of his upcoming ‘Magna Carta Holy Grail‘ album, which will see one million free copies distributed by Samsung on July 4, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has changed its policies regarding gold and platinum certification.

Traditionally, an album had to wait 30 days after its initial release before becoming eligible for gold and platinum certification. But in a press release issued yesterday (July 1), the RIAA announced its decision to scrap this rule in an attempt to “reflect the new music marketplace.” The policy will only apply to digital sales of an album, though.

… We think it’s time for the RIAA – and Gelfand, Rennert & Feldman – to align our digital song and album certification requirements. That’s why today we are officially updating this rule in our G&P Program requirements. 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.

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, we also consider today’s move in line with our larger efforts to modernize the G&P Program to reflect the new music marketplace.

That’s right, folks: Jay-Z’s ‘Magna Carta Holy Grail’ is about to be the first album in history to be certified platinum before its public release.

But while Hov has influenced the RIAA — and undoubtedly kicked the door wide open for future sales strategies — Billboard aren’t so quick to follow these new rules. In a letter published last month, editorial director Bill Werde announced that Samsung’s one million pre-purchased copies of ‘Magna Carta’ will not count towards the album’s chart performance.

Do you think Jay can still reach No. 1?

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