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In the early days of streaming, numbers would not be counted towards an artist’s album sale. With digital streaming platforms allowing people to play songs without buying them or the album, many sales were dropping.
“Some artists removed their work off Spotify and other services of that nature, but for the ones who did not, we have to be patient for justice in our industry and it finally looks like it’s coming,” Minaj wrote on Instagram. “The music business doesn’t really seem designed to reward our culture with the sales and accolades we deserve, as we don’t normally cater to middle America, but I’m so happy that some amazing people have been fighting for us.”
Official sales were less than a million copies worldwide which resulted in barely hitting platinum. However, Minaj told fans that The Pinkprint is actually “triple platinum worldwide.” Those numbers weren’t set to show until “a March court date.” The court date was meant to decide whether to retroactively count streaming totals and other digital download numbers toward platinum plaques.
A platinum certification in music means that a record has sold at least a million copies, and triple would be three million. “The Pinkprint” has sold less than a million copies in the US, with a gold certification (over 500,000 copies). But on Twitter, Minaj provided this breakdown from her label, Universal. As you can see, it combines actual album sales with “TEAs” (a la carte song purchases that are used to count toward album sales) and “SEAs” (the same but for streaming) across the world. The combined numbers make for the 3.3 million figure.
I didn't know I had to post this. I thought I made it clear but ppl can't read these days. This is from UNIVERSAL 😊 pic.twitter.com/Wma19mqDRF
— Mrs. Petty (@NICKIMINAJ) December 16, 2015
Since the court date, the Billboard 200 expanded the metric in which they measured music sales. They now include TEAs as well as SEAs. However, it wasn’t without a fight. Before Nicki Minaj spoke out, it would seem as though many did not think streaming figures should count at all. Nicki Minaj felt otherwise. On Twitter, Minaj took aim at people who felt that streaming figures shouldn’t count.
“The fact that our music is given away for free then when we take credit for our actual real sales, we’re ‘lying’? Sad. Universal is happy,” she tweeted. “You really want an artist to not acknowledge 500 million streams of her own album? People are so bitter.”
But there you have it. The tea about album sales counting streams can be traced back to Mrs.Petty herself. It would seem as if the fight came and went in silence. However, it wasn’t in vain.