The RIAA has announced that JAY-Z's 4:44 album has been certified platinum. The album, released on June 30, was initially released to TIDAL subscribers (who had subscribed before the album's release) and Sprint customers, but has since been made available to all TIDAL subscribers. The album is a streaming-only release and becomes the rapper's 13th album to be certified platinum.
According to Billboard, the album was certified platinum based solely on free downloads that were purchased by Sprint. The sponsored downloads were available on 444.tidal.com and users were required to submit an email address and the promo code “SPRINT” in order to get the album. An RIAA spokesperson told Billboard that, the promotional sales count towards platinum certification because a business can purchase an album or song and make it available to customers as long as the consumers take "affirmative steps," like providing an email or code, to receive the music.
Before the release of his 2013 album Magna Carta Holy Grail, JAY-Z secured a deal between his label and management company Roc Nation and Samsung. The deal included $5 million for Samsung to purchase a million copies of the album up front. The album went platinum as soon as it was released due to the RIAA's new rules that immediately counted digital sales towards certification.
However, Billboard didn't count Samsung-based sales towards the album's chart position and similarly didn't count sales numbers for Rihanna's 2016 ANTI, which was given to Samsung customers.
In January 2017, Sprint purchased 33 percent of TIDAL for $200 million. In a press release at the time, Sprint said that TIDAL artists would be releasing “exclusive content that will only be available to current and new Sprint customers" with support from the $75 million "dedicated marketing fund."
According to a Variety report, 4:44 could be available on all major streaming services as soon as next week.
Representatives for Sprint and Billboard were not immediately available for comment.