Jay-Z's Album Just Leaked...

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...and Gave Him The Best First Week Sales Of His Career

Jay-Z‘s album just leaked. It won’t hit record stores for another 72 hours and at this very moment a million people are listening for free. Within a hour or two, it’ll probably be recorded and uploaded to just about every illegal file-sharing site on the web.

But for Jay-Z, this is hardly a crisis, it’s all part of a plan that guarantees Magna Carta Holy Grail will give him the best opening-week sales figures of his career.

The “Empire State of Mind” rapper convinced Samsung to effectively pay him $5 million to leak his own album. As part of the deal, the handset maker purchased 1 million copies to give away to its customers, and as of 12:01am today, owners of its phones who downloaded a special app are tuning in for free.

Jay-Z’s deal ensures that Magna Carta will sell at least 1 million copies in its opening week. That’s almost a 50% increase over his next best debut, Kingdom Come, which moved 680,000 units. And slightly better than the opening week sales of his first four albums, combined.

Yes, you read that last part correctly. The first week sales of Reasonable Doubt (43,000); In My Lifetime, Vol. 1 (138,000); Vol. 2…Hard Knock Life (352,000); and Vol. 3…Life and Times of S. Carter (463,000) add up to 996,000 (all numbers from Nielsen SoundScan).

One drawback: Magna Carta‘s 1 million Samsung-related sales won’t count toward placement on the Billboard charts.

But the Samsung sales will count toward the RIAA’s platinum certification process. The organization actually changed its rules on July 1 to ensure that Jay-Z’s album would be instantly recognized as platinum, removing the old 30-day waiting period that once existed (to account for potential returns of physical albums).

“The reality is that how fans consume music is changing,” explained RIAA’s Liz Kennedy. “The music business is changing as labels and artists partner with a breathtaking array of new technology services, and the industry’s premier award recognizing artists’ commercial achievement should similarly keep pace.”

Even if nobody buys Jay-Z’s album when it arrives on physical and digital store shelves in three days, Magna Carta will be a huge win. The rapper has already achieved his probable goals for the album: getting paid millions of dollars, getting heard by millions of listeners and getting the kind of buzz that will boost his other ventures. Particularly his stadium tour with Justin Timberlake this summer.

Perhaps best of all, Jay-Z guaranteed himself an insurance policy. If the album had leaked to an outside source before tonight, that would have been Samsung’s problem. Either way, he would have gotten paid, racking up the best first week sales of his career.

Not a bad way to start the July 4th weekend.

Contributing Source: Forbes