The MTV VMA seating chart just got a tiny little bit more awkward, thanks to the fight for the No. 1 album position on Billboard's 200 Albums chart. The industry mag just reported that Travis Scott's Astroworld will retain the No. 1 spot for a second week and Nicki Minaj is absolutely pissed about it, despite being No. 1 in 86 other countries, according to her.
Minaj breaks the story down like this on Twitter: she claims that Spotify decided to "punish" her for streaming her music 10 minutes before it dropped on her Apple Beats radio show, Queen. Because she essentially gave an exclusive on her music to Apple, even for that limited window, she says Spotify took away the promotion they promised for the first couple of days after the release of Queen (the album). She calls it a double standard with Drake, whom Spotify notoriously wallpapered everywhere for the release of Scorpion, despite having done an exclusive deal with Apple that includes his own long-running radio show and promotional TV spots. The difference is: Drake's promotions didn't overlap.
Here's where things get truly sticky: Minaj also tweeted that she spoke to Scott and says that he agrees that he doesn't have the top album this week. She then blames the disparity on Kylie Jenner posting a call to go see him on tour. Hold on while I scratch my head on this one.
Travis sold over 50K of these. With no requirement of redeeming the album! With no dates for a tour, etc. I spoke to him. He knows he doesn’t have the #1 album this week. I love my fans for the #1 album in AMERICA! I’ll explain on #QueenRadio 4 albums in, #1 in 86 countries ♥️ pic.twitter.com/CiYEuczgm3— QUEEN (@NICKIMINAJ) August 19, 2018
I put my blood sweat & tears in writing a dope album only for Travis Scott to have Kylie Jenner post a tour pass telling ppl to come see her & Stormi. lol. Im actually laughing. #Queen broke the record of being number 1 in 86 countries. Thank Jesus & thank you to my fans.— QUEEN (@NICKIMINAJ) August 19, 2018
The social media cache of the Kardashians is well known, but tour sales aren't part of what Billboard evaluates in their calculations for this chart. Per Billboard, it's all based on "traditional album sales, track equivalent albums, and streaming equivalent albums." So...is Minaj mad that a Jenner IG maybe reminded people to stream the Travis Scott album?
Here's what Minaj should be mad about: if she didn't have multiple tracks on Spotify's most powerful playlists, like Rap Caviar, then she racked up less streams. If she got less front page promotion, again, less streams. Scott's album got over 167.5 million streams last week, with 205,000 equivalent and real album sales. And those numbers are all down from his first week streams and sales. Minaj wasn't even close at 185,000 equivalent album sales and 128.7 million streams. Their actual physical album sales were the only place the two matched, at 78,000 each.
It feels like dragging Jenner and Stormi into this fight is fighting dirty. Scott has not responded or confirmed Minaj's assertions at press time and Refinery29 has reached out to his representatives to confirm the alleged comments.
So, great news: Scott and Jenner are sitting directly behind Minaj at the VMAs tonight! Minaj and Scott will both perform, separately.
A word of advice for Blake Lively: duck.