Merch and ticket bundles have been a major point of contention for artists and fans alike. Now, Billboard is changing the rules.
On Monday (July 13), the revered music authority announced that it will no longer count “albums bundled with merchandise and concert tickets on its album and song charts altogether.”
The rule has no set date on when it will apply—for tours, it will begin in October 2020—but under the new mandate, all albums bundled with merch or tickets “must be promoted as an add-on to those purchases in order to be counted on the charts.”
Billboard Announces New Chart Rules: No More Merch & Ticket Bundles https://t.co/xhb0mqaEWD
— billboard pro (@billboardpro) July 13, 2020
If an artist chooses to bundle their release with add-ons, Billboard requires that both the album and extras must be available for purchase individually at a lower cost, alongside the music, on an artist’s direct website.
Ever since the bundle wars began, the argument has been that sales don’t accurately reflect the desire for the music solely. Fader reported Nicki Minaj once argued Travis Scott scored his chart-topper “Astroworld” win through selling merch.
“Travis sold 200K in his first week of clothes alone,” Minaj said in a series of tweets.
Billboard is changing ticket bundling rules for album charts. "Forced" album + ticket bundles will NO LONGER COUNT. "Opt in" bundles WILL count (users can request to add the album to a ticket purchase).
Details expected Tuesday. Effective for all tours from October 2, 2020 on.
— chart data (@chartdata) July 13, 2020
Billboard assures that bundling, an age-old strategy, will remain a go-to for artists to boost their album sales. However, they will continue to tweak the rules in order to ensure their charts are above board.