Billboard announced that they would be changing the guidelines for album charts in regards to merchandise bundles.
Billboard stated, “For an album sale to count 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.”
They added that items sold on their own would have to be priced lower than the bundle itself. These bundles can only be sold through the artist’s official website and not through any third-party websites.
They also state that any approved merchandise that is artist or album-branded can be bundled with an album and counted for the charts after being shipped to the customer. The bundle however, must be priced at least $3.49 more than the item itself as that is the minimum price for it to count towards the charts.
This new policy will go into effect on January 3, 2020. All albums released from that date onward will follow these new rules, even if they released before-hand.
Billboard has made these new rules due to the “public debate around the Billboard albums charts, with many arguing these bundled album sales do not reflect the customers’ true interest in purchasing the album, but, rather, the merchandise it’s packaged with.”
Billboard revealed that many artists that have taken advantage of bundle offer in 2019, including Celine Dion, Kanye West, SuperM, Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, and more.