Via an innovative marketing stunt used to launch his new album, the American hip hop artist Jay Z, has re-written a 55 year old rule used for measuring album sales.
The 43 year old rappers latest album Magna Carta The Holy Grail, was only officially released Thursday 4th July 2013. However prior to this Samsung purchased one million digital copies to be given away to owners of their handsets.
That quantity of sales have already turned the album platinum, though under previous RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) guidelines 30 days would be required to pass in order for this to be validated. A timeframe historically needed to accurately tally physical sales i.e. CDs, cassettes, vinyl and other formats.
The change in ruling confirmed last week to allow digital sales to count from the album release date, is reflective of the general shift from physical to digital music and that the music industry is beginning to evolve with these ‘Internet Age’ changes. This is something they have been criticised frequently for failing to do over the years. In fact, further changes to guidelines this week confirmed that along with traditional music forms and downloads, sales will also look at numbers from a whole host of other internet based music platforms including MOG, Muve Music, Rdio, Rhapsody, Slacker, Spotify, Xbox Music, MTV.com, VEVO, Yahoo! Music, YouTube and more.
Discussing these changes and his role within them, Jay Z said "We don't have any rules; everybody is trying to figure it out…."That's why the Internet is like the Wild West, the Wild Wild West. We need to write the new rules."
It’s a comment that might ring true not only when applied to the music industry, but actually when we consider the internet itself.