Boston-area rapper Sam Adams has had quite the roller-coaster month.
His debut album, "Boston's Boy" debuted at the top of the iTunes hip-hop digital album charts after selling just under 8,000 digital units in its first week. But the Cinderella story quickly faded after rumors began to spread that he may have been responsible for most, if not all, of the sales himself as a stunt to gain notoriety.
It certainly wouldn't be the first time sales charts have been gamed to garner a No. 1 spot, and all the attention that honor can bring an emerging new artist.
But so far, the evidence doesn't support the accusations made against him. For starters, SoundScan data shows that 22% of his sales came from the Boston area, not surprising considering he's from the area and that's where his largest fanbase would be. Another 18% of his sales came from New York. The rest came from more than 100 markets nationwide-including Philadelphia, L.A., Washington D.C., and Chicago-and no one market totaled more than 5% each.
Additionally, it's not possible to simply buy up a bunch of songs from one account and have them all count towards iTunes charts. Sources at both Apple and Nielsen confirm that Apple only counts one sale per account to any charts. In essence: one account = one "vote."
The blog that apparently first wrote about the alleged stunt -- Boston area hip-hop blog JumpTheTurnstyle -- has since retracted the story under the weight of such evidence. And Adams addressed the controversy in a press release, stating: "I know there has been a considerable amount of controversy about my album release and hitting No. 1 on the iTunes Hip-Hop charts, and in response I'd like to say that the numbers are legit. They were organic purchases by fans who simply liked the music to purchase. It's as simple as that really; if something in the marketplace is great and word of mouth spreads about it, purchase is bound to happen."
Adams used his Twitter feed to discount the rumors as well, using decidedly saltier language than can be printed here.
So how did the 22-year-old Trinity College student emerge from virtual obscurity to beat such hip-hop superstars as Lil' Wayne and DJ Khaled? Although he has less than 1,000 MySpace followers, he claims in excess of 25,000 Facebook friends. Close to 2,000 follow him on Twitter. But likely the biggest impact came from YouTube, where his earlier single "I Hate College"-a remix of the Asher Roth hit "I Love College"-has more than a million views.
As of Friday (March 12), the album remained at No. 3 on the iTunes hip-hop chart, with the lead single "Driving Me Crazy" at No. 8 among tracks. According to Adam's Twitter feed, he was in Los Angeles last week shooting a video and meeting with various labels.