A strange thing happened on the iTunes U.S. store on Monday (Nov. 5) when Kris Wu, a Chinese-Canadian actor and artist, practically swept the Top 10 songs chart.
It seemed curious that Wu, whose album “Antares” had yet to be released in China, would have such momentum on a U.S. chart. While he’s a household name in Asia, in America he’s comparably an unknown. Also, Wu’s tracks weren’t streaming in significant numbers which was reason enough for some industry insiders to cry foul.
According to a well-placed insider, Wu’s album sales were acquired fraudulently and will not count toward the iTunes sales chart reported to Nielsen and disseminated by Billboard. The determination was made to “suppress those sales numbers” on Wednesday afternoon following patterns of high-volume purchases on iTunes, first of the explicit version of “Antares,” and then of the clean version.
An odd story, but not quite what it appears. Read on:
According to insiders, there were several factors that contributed to Wu’s showing. First, his album hadn’t yet been released in China where the label purportedly purposely held it back so it could come out on Wu’s birthday, Tuesday, Nov. 6. Typically, albums come out on Fridays worldwide, as per the global release date change instituted in 2015. But in the U.S., it was already available on iTunes, released by Interscope Records on Nov. 2. What transpired was a classic supply and demand scenario where “supply in the U.S. met the demand in China.”
Not sure how this is fraud. One theory holds that massive China fans resorted to VPNs to get the album in the US when they couldn’t get it in China. But is that fraud? Interesting.