Time to put on your tinfoil hat because Nicki has some theories about why Queen isn’t charting so well.
On Sunday, after Travis Scott’s album Astroworld debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 ahead of Nicki Minaj at No. 2, Minaj began tweeting about why she thinks Spotify screwed her over. First, she took issue with the fact that Scott could use Kylie Jenner’s social media platforms (massive, obviously) to promote tour packages, clothes, and album sales.
Minaj also leverages some serious accusations at Spotify, who she claims punished her for playing some of her album on her Queen Radio show for Apple Music. Both streaming services are obviously in constant competition for exclusive album releases.
And she also claims that Republic Records didn’t want to stand up to Spotify because Ariana Grande’s album was just about to come out and perhaps the label didn’t want her to be punished either.
If you know nothing about how the Billboard charts are calculated these days, let me just quickly say that it is messed up. Basically, it’s never been a weirder time to figure out how exactly albums “sell” when people just don’t buy albums anymore, so you have artists out here doing bundle deals (i.e. live ticket show, merch, etc. sales that come with an album, which can equal one sale) and literally hacking YouTube to boost streaming sales.
But it isn’t as if Minaj hasn’t engaged in loophole tactics to boost Queen’s streaming numbers (and I wouldn’t blame her—everyone does it!). These days if a single song from an album gets 1,250 streams on a subscription service like Spotify, those streams are equal to one album unit on the Billboard 200 chart (quick example: this is why Drake’s Views charted so well off the strength of “Hotline Bling” streams, not necessarily people streaming the entire album a certain amount of times.) And this is also probably why Minaj quickly put her 6ix9ine collab “FEFE” onto Queen after her album debuted, because the song was charting so well and would probably boost her record sales overall. She has also, just like Scott, sold merchandise bundles with albums attached.
But in the end, Minaj said she was just... joking?
There’s that signature, uh, dry humor I love from her!
Update, 1:17 p.m.: Variety reports that a representative for Spotify has responded to Minaj’s claims in a statement:
Spotify supported Nicki Minaj with a Times Square billboard, a host of the largest playlists, New Music Friday and the new music release shelf. Her song ‘Bed’ actually saw an increase based on the promotions put behind the campaign. The company continues to be big fans of Nicki.