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Billboard adjusts album sales’ rules

Nov 28,2019
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Billboard announced on Tuesday U.S. time that it will be enforcing new rules for merchandise and album bundle sales, signaling a change in the way album sales will be counted in music charts in the future.

According to Billboard, albums that are sold in bundles with other merchandise must also be available to purchase individually, at a lower price than the bundle package and be sold from the artist’s official web store to be counted as part of the album sales. This new policy will go into effect from Jan. 3.

“Regarding the Jan. 3, 2020, start date, all album releases from that date onward must adhere to the new rules, even if the bundles went on sale before then,” Billboard said.

The bundle must also be priced at at least $3.49 more than the individual album, as “$3.49 is the minimum price of an album to qualify for the charts” according to the charts.

The new policy will not affect albums that are sold as a part of a concert ticket/album sale redemption offer bundle.

Billboard currently tallies its charts by combining the number of hardcopy album sales, the number of times the music file has been downloaded and the number of times it’s been streamed online. The new policy was introduced as “the industry tries to find new ways to sell albums - as customers are buying fewer albums in favor of streaming their favorite new releases.”

“The changes come as bundles have been at the center of a public debate around the Billboard album charts, with many arguing these bundled album sales do not reflect customers’ true interest in purchasing the album, but, rather, the merchandise it is packaged with,” Billboard said.

Their examples of such artists who topped the Billboard 200 chart in 2019 “thanks in part to bundling efforts” included K-pop boy band SuperM, along with singers Celine Dion, Luke Combs, Kanye West, Post Malone, Taylor Swift, Madonna, Billie Eilish, Khalid, Jonas Brothers, Ariana Grande and the Backstreet Boys.

SuperM is currently ranked on the Billboard 200 albums chart for the seventh consecutive week, while also topping the World Album chart for the same duration.

By Yoon So-yeon