Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber have rejected rapper 6ix9ine's claims that they 'bought' their number one spot in the charts.
'Stuck With U', the pair's collaboration, deputed at number one on Billboard's Hot 100, putting it two places ahead of 6ix9ine's (pronounced 'six nine') song 'Gooba'.
But on Instagram, 6ix9ine claimed to have undertaken an 'investigation' into the song's success, which he says revealed that 30,000 last-second purchases were made with just six credit cards.
Meanwhile, Billboard knocked down the number of streams of 'Gooba' by nearly 20 million, he went on to allege.
Now I understand why Jay-Z and Niki Minaj say we used to look up to Billboard, but now we know it's all manipulated. It's all fabricated. You can buy number ones.
This is likely a reference to Jay-Z's verse on Meek Mill's 'What's Free' in which he accuses Billboard of "inflating numbers" and Niki Minaj's protestations against Billboard when her 2018 album Astroworld charted at number two.
Billboard responded to 6ix9ine by explaining their process of ranking songs.
How Billboard came to its calculations in this week's race for the Hot 100 No. 1: https://t.co/Ep4zNAZupX
The sudden spike in sales of 'Stuck With U' is owing to the song being made available on Grande and Bieber's web stores, they say. All sales are also audited by Billboard and Nielsen Music/MRC Data to avoid bulk purchases of songs contributing to chart numbers. Billboard has, however, reached out to Fame House/Bravado, who report on their sales of songs, for further comment on 6ix9ine's 'six credit cards' claim.
As for the 20 million 'missing' streams of 6ix9ine's 'Gooba', these were discounted because Billboard only counts US streams for their Hot 100, not total number of streams from across the globe.
Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber and their manager Scooter Braun have all also responded to 6ix9ine's claims.
Responding on Instagram, Grande said "my fans bought the song. JUSTIN'S fans bought the song. OUR fans bought this song (never more than four copies each, AS THE RULES STATE)".
She also made a dig at 6ix9ine, accusing him of attempting to "discredit hardworking women" before going on to congratulate everyone who charted alongside her on Billboard, "even number 3".
Justin Bieber also made reference to the fact that 6ix9ine had seemingly targeted Grande when criticising 'Stuck With U's' success.
"If you gonna say her name make sure you say mine because it's our song."
Scooter Braun, who manages both Grande and Bieber, pointed to a similar explanation to Billboard and Bieber when defending his clients.
Scooter Braun responds to 6ix9ine’s accusation of cheating on the Hot 100, claims the investigation in question was… https://t.co/SfjYLSgqYO
"You both did something great for a great cause" Braun said on Instagram.
The net proceeds of 'Stuck With U' are being donated to the First Responders Children's Foundation, which is funding scholarships for children of frontline workers affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
But 6ix9ine has not accepted Billboard or the other artists's version of events, and seemingly doubled down in a response addressed to Grande.
Tekashi 69 responds to Ariana Grande https://t.co/pMYgHnTRPo