Rihanna’s new album ANTI has already caused its share of controversy, and it’s not because of the music that’s on the record. It’s because of the predicted album sales.
There appears to be conflicting reports about the sales of ANTI, and insiders have different figures, according to a Forbes report. Some claimed that Rihanna sold one million copies, while others say that she only sold 460 copies. Meanwhile, Tidal announced that ANTI was downloaded 1.47 million in less than 24 hours.
Billboard hasn’t announced the exact sales of ANTI, but revealed that the album debuted at No. 27 on this week’s album chart. But the album only had less than a few hours to chart, so it could likely sell well over 1,000 copies in its first full week. That hasn’t stopped the music blogs from writing that ANTI only sold 460 copies in its first consecutive week in the U.S., which is inaccurate information according to insiders close to Tidal.
Billboard Charts track U.S. album sales on a weekly basis from Friday morning through midnight Thursday nights. Since ANTI was released on late Wednesday evening with a download with a complementary code through its partnership with Samsung not tracked by Billboard or Nielsen, it was only available for purchase in the U.S. 90 minutes before the charts ended. The number of actual U.S. sales, which have yet been released, reflect ANTI’s current Billboard chart position for 90 minutes of sales, not one week.
In addition, the New York Times cited an anonymous source with ties to the music industry confirming that the number was correct. If that’s true, then there’s questions about Tidal’s predicted numbers. But if Tidal is correct, that means over 450,000 copies of ANTI were purchased in less than a day in 44 countries, while less than 500 were sold in the U.S. Once ANTI gets its first full week to sell copies around the world, its first few day of sales will look a whole lot clearer.
Now Tidal and Universal are placing the blame on each other over Rihanna’s album leak. Tidal pointed the finger at Universal Music Group for the album leak, but the record label says that the streaming service is the one to blame.
— billboard (@billboard) February 2, 2016
Tidal’s marketing director Grace Kim spoke to SPIN about the album leak. She referred to it as a “system error” and said that the leak didn’t hurt the album’s sales. But Kim was not referring to a system leak involving Tidal. A rep for the streaming service later elaborated that Kim was “referring to a system error caused by Universal Music Group.”
But the record label isn’t sitting well with that blame.
“This whole thing is absurd, we would have taken responsibility if it were our error,” an anonymous UMG executive told Billboard.
“Instead of having their flack flail around trying to revise their own media spin, maybe they should just focus on serving Rihanna – that’s what we’re focused on.”
It’ll be interesting to see how Tidal’s one-week streaming trial exclusive and Samsung’s complementary download strategy will affect the sales of ANTI on the Billboard chart; because it dropped on Thursday instead of the typical industry release of Friday, none of the downloads counted towards ANTI’s ranking on the Billboard chart.
On Friday, Jan. 29, ANTI became available for purchase on the Tidal store, along with iTunes and Google Play. Deluxe versions of the album also became available for online retailers, while the physical release is expected to hit stores on Feb. 5. With this being said, ANTI is still likely to soar to No. 1 next week after ANTI‘s first full week.
As ANTI arrived on the Billboard 200 albums chart, its lead single “Work” debuts in the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 1 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.
The one thing that definitely sold out was the $9,000 headphones that Rihanna was photographed wearing while listening to her new album. It didn’t take fans long to figure out that the gilded headphones were designed by Dolce & Gabanna in a special collaboration with Frends. Rihanna’s tweet garnered so much interest over her headphones that it sold out within 24 hours of her posting the photo. Here’s hoping that ANTI will have the same numbers.
[Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for WESTBURY ROAD ENTERTAINMENT LLC]