Indie Music

New Billboard Charts Rules: No Merch, Tickets Bundles

Billboard is changing its chart rules to no longer count music and merchandise bundled with concert tickets.

The trade will also no longer let sales of physical albums or singles that are bundled with digital downloads be reported as digital sales. Only when the physical goods ship will the sale be counted.

Billboard said in a statement that it believes the resulting charts will more accurately reflect consumer choice.

In January, Billboard instituted rules for bundling including that the music be available without a bundle but now acknowledges that was not enough.

Billboard says it will continue to work with the industry to reflect merchandise sales within existing charts such as the Artist 100, as well as “potential merchandise-specific charts down the line”.

From Billboard

“Beginning this fall, all albums bundled with either merchandise or concert tickets must be promoted as an add-on to those purchases in order to be counted on the charts.”

“Those included as part of a baked-in, single-price option (along with the merchandise or ticket), with the album cost undisclosed to the consumer, will no longer be counted.”

“Billboard will no longer allow sales of physical albums or singles that are bundled with digital downloads to be reported as digital sales, thereby eliminating the practice of “spontaneous” non-manufactured items being used to influence first-week chart rankings. Under the new rules, only when the physical item — ostensibly what the consumer is buying — is shipped will it be counted in Billboard’s official tallies.”

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