It has also changed how sales are counted for not-yet-manufactured physical albums delivered at a later date.
Billboard is changing the rules to its Billboard 200, Hot 100 and other album and song charts -- a blow to the industry's controversial practice of "bundling" albums with concert tickets and merchandise to drive market share and music sales. The move effectively does away with these bundles as methods of supercharging chart performance, as well as instant digital sales attached to purchases for physical albums delivered at a later date.
On the issue of bundling, the latest rule changes supersede a number of others that were previously instituted in January. Those included a requirement that albums bundled with merchandise be available for purchase concurrently and individually on the same website, as well as a requirement that merchandise sold on its own be priced lower than bundles that included the album. Additionally, merchandise/album bundles could only be sold on an artist’s official direct-to-consumer web store and not via third-party sites.
Now, Billboard -- in an acknowledgement that those measures have fallen short of the intended goal of accurately reflecting consumer intent -- has decided to eliminate the practice of counting albums bundled with merchandise and concert tickets on its album and song charts altogether.