Just about every number one album of the last few years has benefited from an aggressive album bundling campaign.
Traditionally, albums were bundled with concert tickets. However, more and more artists have been tying them to merchandise.
The rules on what merch counts on Billboard's charts have always been murky. (Just ask an angry DJ Khaled.)
Billboard has just injected some clarity into that with new rules for what album bundles will count on their charts:
Moving forward, in order for an album sale to be counted as part of a merchandise/album bundle, all the items in the bundle must also be available for purchase concurrently and individually on the same website. In addition, the merchandise item sold on its own will have to be priced lower than the bundle which includes both the merchandise and the album. Further, merchandise bundles can only be sold in an artist's official direct-to-consumer web store and not via third-party sites ... any approved piece of merchandise that is clearly artist- or album-branded can be bundled with a copy of the album, with those sales counting for the charts when the physical album is shipped to the customer or when the digital album is fulfilled to the customer. However, the merchandise/album bundle must be priced at least $3.49 more than the merchandise item alone. ($3.49 is the minimum price of an album to qualify for the charts.)
The new rules begin on January 3, 2020 and won't affect albums bundled with concert tickets.
The new policies do not affect albums that are part of a concert ticket/album sale redemption offer bundle, where the price of an album is part of the cost of a ticket and the album's inclusion is promoted to the customer at the beginning of their purchase experience. Then, after purchasing the ticket, the customer will receive an offer to redeem the album and have it mailed to them or to download it. Only the albums that are redeemed count toward Billboard's charts, indicating a desire by a consumer to receive the album.
Do you think this will shake up the carts?