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Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber deny 6ix9ine’s claims they bought US number one position

By | Published on Wednesday 20 May 2020

Ariana Grande & Justin Bieber - Stuck With U

Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber have both responded to 6ix9ine’s claims that they fraudulently got their new single ‘Stuck With U’ to number one in the US. Both deny the rapper’s accusations and also question why he focussed his tirade on Grande without mentioning Bieber.

6ix9ine made his allegations in a video on Instagram prior to this week’s Billboard Hot 100 singles chart coming out. As well as citing an unofficial chart prediction spreadsheet, he also claimed to have conducted an investigation that showed that 30,000 last minute sales of Grande and Bieber’s collaborative track had been charged to just six credit cards.

The rapper possibly made his claims expecting that he would be at number two when the official chart came out – suggesting that some of his streams had been discounted in order ensure he was below Grande and Bieber in the final tally. However, in the end he was actually at number three, behind Doja Cat’s ‘Say So’, featuring Nicki Minaj.

Billboard issued a strong denial of any manipulation of the figures, giving a detailed explanation of how it calculates chart eligible sales and streams. In the end, it basically came down to two things: Grande and Bieber had put signed CD singles up for sale in the US 24 hours prior to the cut-off for that week’s chart, providing a last minute sales surge, and a high proportion of 6ix9ine’s video streams had taken place outside the US.

It’s probably also worth mentioning that Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber’s track has ARIANA GRANDE AND JUSTIN BIEBER on it, plus a video full of celebrity cameos, and was released in aid of the First Responders Children’s Foundation charity. All of which would also have helped it get to the top.

“My fans bought the song”, says Grande in an Instagram post. “Justin’s fans bought the song. Our fans bought this song (never more than four copies each, as the rules state). They are ride or die motherfuckers and I thank God every day that I have them in my life. Not just when they fight for us to win but because they’re some of the greatest people I know”.

Showing a little chart savvy insight, she went on: “Sales count for more than streams. You cannot discredit this as hard as you try. To anybody that is displeased with their placement on the chart this week or who is spending their time racking their brain thinking of as many ways as they can to discredit hardworking women (and only the women for some reason), I ask you to take a moment to humble yourself”.

“Be grateful you’re even here”, she goes on. “That people want to listen to you at all. It’s a blessed position to be in. I’ve had a lot of ‘almost number ones’ in my career and I never said a goddamn thing, because I feel grateful to even be here … to be heard at all. And you should feel that way too. Congratulations to all my talented ass peers in the top ten this week. Even number three”.

Bieber, while also not specifically naming 6ix9ine in his response, nevertheless hones in more on the rapper’s specific accusations in an Instagram story post. Also showing some savviness of chart rules, Bieber states that 6ix9ine “says his streams don’t count. Yes they do, but he is counting his global streams and this is a domestic chart, so only domestic streams count”. As for that last minute sales surge, “60,000 units came because we don’t disclose our number until end of week. That’s called strategy”.

“He said 30k was bought with six credit cards, but that is a lie”, Bieber goes on. “The rules are clear, one credit card can buy max four copies. Anything over that, the entire amount gets thrown out. [The] Nielsen company checks this and found all our sales were legit because our fans are amazing and bought them. Don’t discredit our fanbase with false info”.

He concludes by also insinuating sexism in 6ix9ine’s rant, because he only focused on Grande while moaning about his chart position. Bieber goes on: “This is my song with Ariana Grande and I’m honoured to work with her to help raise money for a great cause. If you’re gonna say her name, make sure you say mine [too], because it’s our song”.

Following his original rant, 6ix9ine did post another video on Instagram claiming that he had no specific quarrel with Grande. “You’re a beautiful singer”, he said. “You just don’t understand my pain”. He then posted videos of him discussing his upbringing, contrasting that with clips of her acting on ‘The Mickey Mouse Club’, seemingly to show why he should have had the number one.

Grande and Bieber’s posts, while attempting to defend themselves, do actually highlight something that 6ix9ine could have got legitimately angry about. While whipping up a conspiracy theory, he missed the specifics of the scheme that his chart battle foes employed that was entirely within current Billboard chart rules. What Bieber refers to as “strategy”.

As Grande points out in her post, “sales count for more than streams”. And – as noted above – 24 hours before the chart cut-off, Grande and Bieber put on sale signed copies of their CD single. As well as being time-limited, the CDs were also sold in the US only and limited to four per customer. All of which ensured that those sales would count towards that week’s chart, greatly increasing its chances of going to number one.

6ix9ine also released a limited edition CD single on his website, but didn’t offer to sign them and did not place any of the chart position-boosting restrictions on those sales.

So the rapper could have justifiably dissed the rule-compliant tactic his rivals relied upon, while reasonably asking what Grande and Bieber think a few thousand of their fans are going to do with four copies of the same single. Particularly when, chances are, they have no means to play even one of them.

Hell, he could have even gone all eco-warrior and thrown in a “what an unnecessary splurge of pointless plastic” line into the mix. You know, instead of a load of waffling about apples that we are still no closer to understanding despite having had another 24 hours to digest it all.

But the point is, with chart stat boosting tactics like this to employ, Grande and Beiber’s management team didn’t need to fraudulently buy up their own merch. Both artists have plenty of fans willing to throw cash at them. Which means that it was money that gave 6ix9ine’s rivals the edge in this chart battle, even though he was entertaining more people on YouTube. Just not in the way he thinks.