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Russ Persists in Accusations Against Billboard, Luminate, and Major Labels for Fabricating Streaming Data



On Monday, August 28th, Russ expressed his frustration on Twitter towards Billboard and Luminate, the organizations responsible for monitoring album sales and streams. In a strongly-worded message, he accused them of unfairly deducting 10,000 sales from his recently released album, SANTIAGO. Despite debuting at No. 12 on the Billboard 200 chart, Russ was adamant that he should have secured a spot in the top 10.

Billboard [and] Luminate took away ANOTHER 4,000 of my REAL sales over the weekend, making that 10,000 sales total they took away from me while allowing major labels to fake their streams and sales, and do monopolistic merch bundles. Only major labels are allowed to do merch bundles because the only approved vendor is a major label vendor,” the Atlanta-based artist vented.

He went on to emphasize the magnitude of the issue, asserting, “I don’t believe people fully grasp the enormity of this situation. Billboard charts are being artificially inflated with fraudulent data, and the validation of this data is reliant on a single company, Luminate.”

Russ was not alone in expressing his frustration. His manager, Milan Ackerman, echoed his concerns by alleging that major record labels are surreptitiously inflating their streaming numbers, essentially concealing fake streams in plain sight.

Ackerman commented, “The current music ‘charts’ are inflated by fake data, and that data is being verified by one company only. That same company that verifies the data is owned by the same company that owns the ‘charts.’ It’s a rigged game.”

On August 29th, Russ resumed his critique by calling out additional corporate entities. He took to Twitter to state, “One company, PMC (Penske Media Corporation), holds ownership over Luminate, Billboard, Rolling Stone, Variety, Vibe, WWD, Hollywood Reporter, Dick Clark Productions, Golden Globe Awards, Academy Of Country Music Awards, American Music Awards, Latin American Music Awards, Billboard Music Awards, Streamy Awards, SXSW, and many more.”

He added with a touch of humor, “Watching the general public try to figure out why certain streams don’t match the ticket sales is funny,” the musician added. “It’s not rocket science; use your brain.”

SANTIAGO made its debut on streaming platforms on August 18th, courtesy of the independent label DIEMON, led by the renowned “Best On Earth” hitmaker. Unlike his previous releases, which often boasted collaborations with big-name artists, this LP showcased a more selective approach, featuring guest appearances from a select few artists including Rexx Life Raj, Bibi Bourelly, and Justin Nozuka.

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