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Sprint helped Jay-Z’s “4:44” go “platinum” in six days, but what does that even mean anymore?

These days, it’s rare for an album to go platinum in less than a week. But as the music industry evolves, so do the rules. Jay-Z’s 4:44 reached the Recording Industry Association of America’s (RIAA) platinum designation in just six days, it was announced earlier today. In the past, that meant a record sold a million or more copies. But it’s 2017, and 4:44, a Tidal/Sprint exclusive, isn’t available in a physical format yet. As it turns out, the mechanics of Tidal’s deal with Sprint earlier this year worked to Jay-Z’s benefit, as Forbes reports.  

Apparently, enough of Sprint’s 60 million customers made an effort to listen to the album, which helps qualify it for platinum status under RIAA rules. Streams count too, but Tidal is one of the smaller services in terms of subscribers, so it’s the Sprint deal that really put it over the top. By contrast, Beyonce’s Lemonade–also a Tidal exclusive–took six weeks to go platinum, as Forbes‘s Gary Suarez points out.

In January, Tidal sold a 33% stake to Sprint for $200 million. The details of the deal aren’t all known, but it includes cross-promotion of Tidal content to Sprint mobile subscribers. JPT