Nicki Minaj Says Her Album Sales Are Much Higher Than Reported

“The fact that our music is given away for free then when we take credit for our actual REAL sales, we’re ‘lying?’ Sad.”

December 16, 2015

Yesterday marked the one year anniversary of the release of Nicki Minaj's The Pinkprint. To celebrate, Minaj posted an Instagram over the cover with a caption saying that she's patiently waiting for a court in March to decided whether or not tallies from streaming can count towards an album's total sales number:


The full caption reads:

"#1YearOfThePinkprint this album is now TRIPLE platinum worldwide (3.3 Million), even though we have to wait for a March court date to be credited for tracks & streams. Some artists removed their work off Spotify and other services of that nature, but for the ones who did not, we have to be patient for justice in our industry & it finally looks like it's coming. This judgement, when passed, will work retroactively so that we can receive our plaques, etc for all of the free music given away on these services. On Spotify alone, the sales of this album is 1.4 Million worldwide. The music business doesn't really seem designed to reward our culture with the sales & accolades we deserve, as we don't normally cater to middle America, but I'm so happy that some amazing ppl have been fighting for us. To my fans, thank you for your support. Nothing made me happier than seeing your faces this year on #ThePinkprintTOUR ~ Thank you for this Grammy nominated album. 😘😘😘😘😘😘😘 To all the artists out there working hard on your music and feeling discouraged, I feel your pain & completely understand your frustration. Don't let anything stop the love you have for your passion. 💕💕💕💕💕 #ThePinkprint"

It's unclear what court or case the caption refers to, and reps for Nicki Minaj did not return repeated requests for comment.

Today, after some Twitter accounts and at least one blog claimed that the sales numbers Nicki mentioned were incorrect, Nicki came back with some receipts.

For clarity: ROW stands for "rest of world," TEA stands for "track equivalent albums," or the sale of 10 digital tracks being equal to one album, and SEA means the "streaming equivalent albums," which according to Billboard, means when "the number of streams at the current stream pay rate [sic] equal the average blended wholesale revenue of $7.50." Her overall point being that if streams and the number of singles sold digitally were counted towards total number of sales, her total (and all artist's totals for that matter) would be a lot higher. (This could possibly play into royalty and publishing fees, possibly a reason why Minaj, a credited songwriter on every one of her songs, has a particular stake in the fight.)

It's worth noting that these are already incorporated in the Billboard album charts.

As Minaj continued to explain, her label is extremely happy, she just wants credit for her work:

Nicki Minaj Says Her Album Sales Are Much Higher Than Reported