NEW YORK — Jay-Z’s got 99 problems and the Billboard chart is one. Billboard said Friday it will not include the 1 million album downloads Jay-Z is giving to Galaxy mobile phone users through a deal with Samsung. Jay-Z announced the partnership this week. His new album, Magna Carta Holy Grail, will be released July 7, but it will go out to 1 million Samsung users on July 4.
In a letter posted on Billboard’s website, editorial director Bill Werde says it won’t count the downloads because Samsung ultimately isn’t selling the album on its phones. He adds that it wasn’t easy turning down Jay-Z’s request to include the downloads on the Billboard chart.
“The passionate and articulate argument by Jay’s team that something was for sale and Samsung bought it … doesn’t mesh with precedent,’’ Werde wrote.
Werde added that Billboard has adjusted the charts to reflect how music is being consumed, and that Jay-Z’s request gives the company more to think about.
“When someone like Jay-Z takes the issue public in the way that he did, it encourages us to look at it with that much more rigor essentially,” Werde said in a phone interview Friday. “I think what will happen in the next couple weeks is we’ll advance these conversations some more.”
In February, U.S. YouTube data became one of the factors when ranking songs on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart and other genre-specific charts. The Recording Industry Association of America followed that trend last month when it expanded its gold and platinum certification program to include song streams on the Internet.
When Best Buy bought 600,000 copies of Guns N’ Roses’ Chinese Democracy in 2008, Billboard did not count those as sales. Billboard said $3.49 is its minimum pricing of an album for it to count on its charts.
Magna Carta Holy Grail is Jay-Z’s 12th album. The multiple Grammy winner tweeted that Billboard should count his Samsung downloads. A representative for 43-year-old rapper didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment.