By Piya Sinha-Roy
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Jay Z’s latest album “4:44” may already be certified platinum but it was noticeably absent from Monday’s Billboard 200 album chart because the rapper’s own streaming platform Tidal did not report numbers to Nielsen Music.
The album, on which the Jay Z addresses cheating on his wife Beyonce and the birth of their twins, was released on June 30 as an exclusive to members of Tidal and customers of wireless carrier Sprint Corp, who were offered a free six-month subscription to Tidal to listen to the album.
The Billboard 200 album chart is based on retailers and streaming platforms reporting sales and streaming figures to Nielsen SoundScan. Tidal did not report first week streaming figures of “4:44” to Nielsen, David Bakula of Nielsen Music said.
Representatives for Tidal and Jay Z did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment on the album’s exclusion from this week’s Billboard chart, but this is not the first time the streaming platform’s exclusive releases have not charted on Billboard.
Kanye West’s “Life of Pablo” did not enter the Billboard charts during its exclusive Tidal release in February 2016. It only debuted on the Billboard 200 chart, at No. 1, after West made it available widely in April last year on platforms including iTunes, Apple Music and Spotify.
Just six days after “4:44” was released, the Recording Industry Association of America certified the album as platinum, meaning one million U.S. consumers had already downloaded the album.
But instead of featuring Jay Z, DJ Khaled’s “Grateful” topped the Billboard 200 chart for a second consecutive week on Monday with another 70,000 album units sold.
“4:44” was made available to purchase and stream widely on July 7, which will count toward next week’s Billboard chart. The album has been praised by critics for Jay Z’s raw self-examination and socially conscious themes.
Jay Z announced a “4:44” tour on Monday and will play 31 shows across North America and Canada from October to December.
New albums in the top 10 of this week’s Billboard 200 album chart include electro-pop DJ Calvin Harris’ “Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1” at No. 2 with 68,000 album units sold and rock group Stone Sour at No. 8 with “Hydrograd.”
(Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Tom Brown)