Billboard is no longer counting merch bundle sales for chart results
Now, Billboard is no longer including ticket and merch bundles in its chart figures. This latest move will significantly impact overall album sales in the industry.
Currently, it's a common practice for artists to sell copies of their albums within their merchandise and ticket bundles. The inclusion of these digital and physical albums greatly helps artists sell music during the age of streaming. It also influences where their music may debut on Billboard's charts.
More recently, Halsey, Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber and Harry Styles are just a few artists to use bundles to boost album sales. Each ticket sold for Halsey's rescheduled Manic tour comes with a copy of her latest album Manic. As well, copies of Styles' new album Fine Line are also included with tour ticket purchases.
Now, Billboard has announced it will no longer include bundles on its chart figures. According to the announcement, Billboard will “eliminate the practice of counting albums bundled with merchandise and concert tickets on its album and song charts altogether.”
Last year, the company attempted to limit the impact bundles have on the music charts. In order for artists' albums to count in the figures, the albums had to be sold individually or merchandise had to be sold for a lower price if sold separately. As well, bundles could only be available on their official website.
Those established regulations took effect Jan. 3. However, Billboard admits in the announcement that the rules “have fallen short of the intended goal of accurately reflecting consumer intent.” This ultimately led to Billboard's latest decision about bundles.
Now, albums "must be promoted as an add-on" to purchase alongside bundles. This is opposed to the current practice where albums are often included in the price of bundles.
As well, physical album sales that include digital downloads won't count towards chart figures until the albums are shipped. This means that pre-orders involving vinyl are greatly impacted by this new rule. Since vinyl pressings often take a long time, vinyl sales won't have the same impact on chart figures as they previously did.
At this time, Billboard has not shared when these new rules will take effect. However, the company states that these changes are in efforts to report sales figures more accurately.
“The new guidelines will better ensure that Billboard chart rankings more accurately reflect the conscious purchasing decisions of consumers and level the playing field for all artists.”
What are your thoughts on Billboard's new changes to their chart figures? Let us know in the comments below.