Music Artist Brand Endorsement Case Study: Jay-Z's Album 4:44 And Sprint Platinum In Days


Table Of Contents

”Listen to audio version”

How A Brand Helped Make An Album Platinum

People of all ages have heard of the craze surrounding Jay-Z’s new album 4:44. Aside from all of the interesting things that Jay-Z raps about on the album (race in America, socioeconomic issues in the African American community or his infidelity towards Beyonce), there is one thing in particular about the album that has stood out most - how 4:44 went platinum in record time.

And in fact, the album's success has much to do with a partnership Jay-Z has with Sprint. In this blog, Hollywood Branded explores the music artist brand endorsement case study of how Jay-Z’s new album 4:44 went platinum in less than a week.

Jay-Z 4_44 Blog.png

The Speed Of Success

With Jay-Z’s long standing success in both music and business, it is not hard to believe that 4:44 would go platinum. But, the speed at which it went platinum is definitely something worth talking about.

According to RIAA certification standards, an album goes platinum once it has sold one million copies. Reaching this amount sales would usually take an album weeks or even months, but, not for Jay-Z. 4:44 went platinum in a matter of days.

So we did he achieve this amazing feat in such a short amount of time?  Well, he can thank the sweet brand integration deal he did with massive telecommunications company, Sprint for achieving this milestone.

The Deal

So, what exactly was the deal that went down between the rapper and this cell phone company?

After all, what does a rapper have to do with a cell phone company anyways, and vice versa? Well, apparently a lot more than any of us had thought.

Jay-Z and Sprint put together a deal that sold just the right amount of copies to Sprint needed to make it go platinum...and go platinum rather quickly at that, earning Sprint a 33% stake in Tidal in the process. However, it wasn’t the direct sale of copies to Sprint that allowed it to go platinum.

It was the album’s immediate availability to be listened to and downloaded by Sprint’s 45 million customers which propelled it to platinum status. In a sense, Jay-Z used his fame and influence to exploit a loophole in the RIAA certification standards. Genius move by the two teams behind Jay-Z and Sprint.

This isn’t the first time that Jay-Z has used his power and business finesse to shoot his album to platinum status. Back in 2013 during the release of his album Magna Carta Holy Grail, Jay-Z did something similar by having tech giant, Samsung, purchase one million copies off of him springing that album to platinum in record time as well.

What About Sprint

So you’re probably wondering how Sprint benefited from their newly acquired one million copies.

There are three ways that Sprint may have benefited from the deal:

  1. Simply put, increased brand awareness by attaching their name to a culturally relevant celebrity, potentially landing them new customers in the process.
  2. Provided a value-add for its clientele. Current Sprint users may be offered a free or discounted rate for a Tidal subscription (Jay-Z music streaming service).
  3. Now owning a 33% stake in the streaming service

Regardless, these deals between two seemingly unalike businesses show the extent to which brand integration deals can go. What may seem like a shot in the dark can prove to be incredibly valuable for the parties involved. 

We applaud Jay-Z on successfully completing two groundbreaking deals that seamlessly blend the worlds of entertainment marketing, business and artisanship into a lucrative game changer. As newer artists get bigger and more solidified in their respective craft, deals like this will surely continue to happen.

Don't Worry All Deals Don't Cost A Million Dollars Or More

Luckily, the world of entertainment marketing and brand integrations isn’t held captive by billion dollar artists and businesses alike. There are hundreds of deals like this that happen all the time, just on a much smaller level.

Working with artists, especially around the release of one of their new projects, has proven to be very beneficial for several brands in the past. In fact, here at Hollywood Branded, we have all of the tools needed to help facilitate these types of deals for brands.  Including music video partnerships like the blog we wrote: Sprint Spokesperson Scores Brilliant Product Placement in J. Lo's New Music Video  

Check out our guide to product placement and promotional partnerships below!  It offers a first step option to creating brand partnerships with music artists.

Product Placement & Co-Promotions 101 Guide