DJ Khaled was aiming for his third straight No. 1 album with the release of Father of Asahd last month, but when the final numbers came in, he fell 30,000 units short of Tyler the Creator’s IGOR. Khaled isn’t ready to surrender his crown just yet, however, as Page Six reports that he is planning to sue Billboard over the way the albums were counted.
Khaled is accusing Billboard of omitting albums sold as part of a bundle deal with an energy drink, which would have added 100,000 units to his final total. Khaled says Billboard initially agreed to include albums from the energy drink bundle, but later reversed its decision, citing “anomalies” in the data. Compounding Khaled’s anger was the fact Billboard apparently included Tyler’s own bundle deal figures in its total.
Page Six reports that lawyers for Khaled have sent a letter to Silvio Pietroluongo, SVP of charts and data development at Billboard, asking for a recount.
According to a separate report from the New York Times, a portion of Khaled’s bundle purchases were disqualified after it was concluded that a marketing firm encouraged bulk purchasing. Deanna Brown, president of the Billboard, told the Times, “In this particular instance, we saw an organization encouraging purchases among their members by promising them material and organizational benefits.”
However, Khaled’s management firm, Roc Nation, contends the confusion is Billboard’s own doing. “We dispute their decision on behalf of DJ Khaled and, frankly, every artist who is forced to navigate bundling an album download with an inexpensive item that still effectively represents their brand. It’s confusing and demeaning to the art,” Desiree Perez, Roc Nation’s chief operating officer, said in a statement to the Times.
“We’re obviously not fans of bundling, nor should anyone who cares about artists making music,” Perez added. “But our hands are being forced by Billboard’s desperate, last-ditch effort to keep streaming from eliminating what’s left of music downloads.”
For its part, Billboard said it plans to reconfigure its rules surrounding bundling in the next year.