Not On My Watch | Why Rihanna’s “Anti” Can’t Be Platinum Certified a Very Special Non-Gluten Free Rant

Rihanna’s Anti is NOT Platinum scanning, selling, or anything else for that matter.  There I said it. And for good reason. If you are one of the few thousand people that downloaded Rihanna’s latest Anti for no reason other than because it was free, you are proof pudding of my point.

Now don’t get me wrong , I’ve been winding and grinding to the inaudible, slurred, non lyrically good mess that is “Work” the Drake (one of 7 composers) assisted newly minted first (mind you it’s the 4th track to be released from the project) single just like the rest of the world. I was sent my “unofficial” link from a group after TIDAL made its initial gaffe and then backtracked and made it official a few hours later.

Like so many others, I was mildly amused by Rihanna’s no fucks given lackadaisical approach to marketing that has been the promo over the course of two years. At first it was cute, then it was funny, and by the time  the cover art hit twitter I was nearly exhausted.  Finally R8 was around the corner and I could quell my mild curiosity by listening to the album which was sure to be nigh.

Well, that was (4?) months ago long before the insufferable set of Samsung sponsored doors beat every ounce of hype that was left in the already living on a prayer marketing campaign. By the time Door #5 , or 6 (or was it 7) was opened I was good and over with Anti or TIDAL or whatever it was.

So on Wednesday after I finished my work day, I hit up Twitter for my nightly pop culture recap to a flurry of Anti leaks and spills all over my timeline and email. I rolled my eyes at the alleged gaffe and then just annoyed when TIDAL just hours later officially made it a legal download. Would I download it from TIDAL for free?

No.

I was un-bothered and over ANti at that point and decided to just bop to Work on soundcloud. But then a friend sent me the “anti” official zip file and since I could detour TIDAL’s blatant subscription pandering I hit unlock and the track fed into my Itunes folder.

To the TRUE music fan that is reading this, I think you very well understand the main idea or point of my contention with RIAA now deeming ANTI a platinum scanning album.

First of all, having ONE corporate sponsor pay a lumpsum and give out free digital copies of a piece of music is very very different from selling 1 million pure digital and/or physical pieces of music to independent music consumers. If this was being based off of even streaming I would be less bothered since streaming is not tabulated to be a one to one correspondence. One stream of a song does not equal one album. So a lot of songs would need to be streamed for it to be the equivalent to one millionsalbum sales or scans. Not impossible but not probable in 48 hours.

Having ONE corporate sponsor pay a lumpsum and give out free digital copies of a piece of music is very very different from selling or scanning 1 million pure digital and/or physical pieces of music to independent music consumers.

Now let me be frank. Is it correct that 1 million ANTI albums were purchased? YES.

But a REAL music fan understands that HOW purchasing was done is the source of the issue. U2 also had Apple do this and push millions of free tracks to Itunes users. They were not deemed to be platinum sellers or being platinum certified, because a lumpsum corporate deal is very different.

Lady Gaga sold her Born this Way album for .$99 in 2011 with a Amazon deal and she was dragged to high FILTH by haters, fans, and the industry alike. So why is what Rih has done being spun differently?

JAY Z did it and he too was dragged to filth and not one person deemed him this savant of corporate bought sales or scans. The pre-bought then delivered albums were not counted toward scans, sales, or certifications. Yes, I know that RIAA is not sales but that doesn’t matter. Certifications, scans, shipments NO NO NO.

Additionally, Rihanna isn’t independent in the sense of what it usually means. Yes this is her first album away from her label. But Rihanna isn’t some unknown breakout artist that sold or distributed 1 million albums out the trunk of her Honda. Rih is a business and brand and this was a pure marketing deal . Which is no shade.

But speaking for myself the only reason why I have ANTI is because it was free. Which is my point. Would 1 million people have bought this on their own will physical or digital? Were 1 million digital tracks bought by independent music consumers? Digital music doesn’t play to conventions of scans any way so why is the RIAAA deeming them in the same way as physical albums any way? I can’t answer that but I think we all know the answer. That’s why the SAMSUNG deal was signed. Again, business is business.

If Rih has indeed set a precedent, then it has to be carried through from now until the GREAT FOREVER. Every act that comes out from now on and does this type of corporate deal, this will have to be the case. You cannot pick and choose who you SPIN the narrative for. Stand firm in it or let it be.

TIDAL said it was all for the underdog up and comer musician. Tell me how this DEAL helps the unknown unnamed un-Rihanna act? How does this deal help change the narrative that music has no price and for the artists that put in the work and spend time, money, and countless hours producing ear candy; how do DEALs like this make the buying public actually buy more music from the “anti” Rihannas of the world when the WOLRD’s most marketable talent is lauded for doling out her half-baked anti tracks for free?

For Rih, her handlers, fans (Old Navy or whatever) and the RIAA  to be touting this as some world renowned record breaking feat is utter rubbish. I don’t see it. If this is the new “industry” standard than I guess the music industry can kiss itself good night. Close the door. Lose the key. You have officially killed yourself. Leave your heart on the mat for me. And maybe for Mariah, Michael, Shaina and Janet (or MAdonna) music legends that actually sold 1million and more real physical cd’s that you had to go to the store and buy. Not pre-purchased and arbitrarily put online for grab by anyone who has a wi;fi connection.

As far as I’m concerned ANTI is not a platinum scanning album. Not now. Not like this. NOT ON MY WATCH

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