Skip to main content

RIAA Updates Rules Before Jay-Z’s ‘Magna Carta’

Inspired by the hip-hop mogul's Samsung deal, the RIAA's new policy brings digital album gold and platinum certifications in line with its digital singles policy.

The RIAA has heard Jay-Z’s #newrules loud and clear.

The music industry’s trade organization will update its policies to allow its digital album certifications to be handed out upon release date, rather than after the 30-day waiting period still applicable to physical releases.

“We think it’s time for the RIAA … to align our digital song and album certification requirements. That’s why today we are officially updating this rule in our [Gold and Platinum] Program requirements,” RIAA Communications and Gold & Platinum Program director Liz Kennedy wrote in a blog post.

Digital singles have been eligible for such certifications since the Digital Single Award was established in 2004.


Kennedy wrote that the albums change was “prompted” by Jay-Z’s deal with Samsung, in which one million free downloads of the MC’s “Magna Carta Holy Grail” will be offered via an exclusive app.

Jay-Z publicly questioned how the deal would be received in a rare use of his Twitter account:


As Billboard editorial director Bill Werde wrote last month, Jay-Z’s giveaway million will, in fact, not count, at least on Billboard’s charts.

“It wasn’t as simple as you might think to turn down Jay-Z when he requested that we count the million albums that Samsung ‘bought’ as part of a much larger brand partnership, to give away to Samsung customers,” Werde wrote in a letter from the editor. “True, nothing was actually for sale — Samsung users will download a Jay-branded app for free and get the album for free a few days later after engaging with some Jay-Z content. The passionate and articulate argument by Jay’s team that something was for sale and Samsung bought it also doesn’t mesh with precedent.”