The most high-profile new album last week was undoubtedly Jay-Z’s “4:44,” his first release in four years and another intriguing addition to the canon. The album was even granted instant platinum status by the Recording Industry Association of America.
Yet “4:44,” which was released by Jay-Z’s company, Roc Nation, and for its first week was available for streaming only on Tidal, is nowhere to be found on the latest Billboard chart. That is because Tidal, Jay-Z’s streaming service, did not supply listening data to Nielsen. And while Sprint apparently bought copies of the album for download and gave them away to Sprint customers, those downloads would not have satisfied Billboard’s chart policy on prices, which require that customers pay at least $3.49 for a current release.
“4:44” was released to other streaming outlets last Friday — although not to Spotify — and will likely make its chart debut next week. But by withholding data during its first week, Roc Nation and Tidal effectively sacrificed a higher opening-chart position for control of the numbers.
The No. 1 position on the latest chart is a repeat from last week: DJ Khaled’s “Grateful” (We the Best/Epic), which sold 16,000 copies as a full album and had 63 million streams, according to Nielsen. In second place is “Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1” (Columbia), the new album by the dance music producer Calvin Harris, which had 23,000 sales and 58 million streams.
Kendrick Lamar holds at No. 3 with “DAMN.,” Imagine Dragons falls two spots to No. 4 with “Evolve,” and Ed Sheeran’s “÷” is in fifth place.
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