Nicki Minaj celebrated the one-year anniversary of The Pinkprint on Instagram Wednesday by drawing attention to how music sales are measured in a streaming-dominated industry. Despite selling less than a million copies worldwide, Minaj told fans that The Pinkprint is now “triple platinum worldwide,” though those sales won’t be reflected in her total until “a March court date” decides whether to retroactively count streaming totals and other digital download numbers toward platinum plaques.
In the face of digital music stores and streaming services, the Billboard 200 expanded the metric in which they measured music sales. They now include TEAs – track equivalent albums, à la carte song purchases that are bundled into LP sales, like when downloads of Wiz Khalifa’s Hot 100-topping “See You Again” singlehandedly propelled the Furious 7 soundtrack to Number One on the Billboard 200 – as well as SEAs, streaming equivalent albums. “On Spotify alone, the sales of this album is 1.4 Million worldwide,” Minaj said of Pinkprint.
The rapper then provided a breakdown of how The Pinkprint is triple-platinum in the eyes of these new sales metrics, even if it hasn’t actually sold a million copies yet.
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
“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.”
On Twitter, Minaj then took aim at people who felt that streaming figures shouldn’t count toward album sales. “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.”