DJ Khaled's reported anger about the sales of his album have nothing to do with the success of Tyler, the Creator, and it turns out his frustrations are actually with Billboard for allegedly choosing not to use a huge chunk of his sales and smashing his chances at a #1 album over a petty disagreement.
Multiple sources familiar with the situation tell The Blast, Khaled's "Father of Asahd" missed becoming the #1 album because over 100,000 album downloads for the hip-hop producer were "disqualified" over the running of a promotion that Billboard said "was not approved."
We're told this was after it was initially approved and he was not told until after the chart week.
As many know, many artists offer bundle deals with their album downloads these days to help drive sales. Khaled, who is a master at promotion, offered a bundle of "Father of Asahd" with nutritional supplements. This was approved by Billboard, and by purchasing the bundle, customers get a digital download of the album and it is supposed to count towards album numbers.
Tyler, the Creator also bundled his "Igor" album with t-shirts and posters. Both sold well, but Khaled actually crushed the bundle sales and pushed over 100,000 units just with his music/supplement deal alone. He offered other bundles which also performed well.
We're told the issue arose when Billboard claimed they did not "approve the copy" of the promotion. Our sources say, even though the team was given the green light on the bundle, they "arbitrarily" disqualified his downloads from the bundle, and it ended up costing him the win against Tyler the Creator.
Our sources also say, contrary to other reports, Khaled did not bring a giant entourage into the offices of Epic, his record label. We're told Khaled brought his one assistant and made an effort to let his label know he believed the move by Billboard to be extremely unfair and wrong.
Obviously, in this situation, his label is the proper place to have these discussions and the right executives to make the proper calls to fix the situation.
We're told Khaled did "passionately speak," to the record executives, but our sources are adamant he did not throw a temper tantrum.
Both Khaled and Tyler the Creator appear on different labels owned by Sony Music, with Khaled on Epic and Tyler on Columbia Records. We're told those close to Khaled believe it is being made to look like the two stars were facing off with each other, when really they both support each other's careers and celebrate everyones success.
We're told the bigger angst is with Billboard and their processes for determining what counts towards album sales and numbers, especially when those in the music industry put so much weight on "who is #1?"
We're told the question is obvious ... "How does this determine the integrity of music?" We're told the entire group of guidelines is odd, and it seems bogus that key people are the ones making the decision on what should count.
One source described a hypothetical similar scenario where Macy's could essentially have the number one album as long as they bundled it with the BEST pair of pants ever and Billboard approved it to be counted. They concluded it should be about the music not the items.
The bottom line is that if you add Spotify, iTunes, Amazon and all the bundles that offered downloads, we are told, DJ Khaled was the clear winner.
For their part, Billboard has recognized there may be flaws in their system. During an article on the evolving practice of bundling albums with merch, they admitted that not all of Khaled's sales counted.
The organization claimed that, "Billboard requires all merch bundles to be submitted in advance for approval. As these offers have become more voluminous and creative," and that, "Billboard is reviewing its rules regarding the bundling of albums with merch." In this case, Khaled's were approved set for pre-sale on May 13.
Unfortunately for Khaled, who put so much into his strategy of bundles in a very competitive market, the damage is already done.