Update (July 29, 2020): Billboard has updated their rules for the 2020 Album Charts for Fall 2020 making the information below out of date.
Read our New Billboard Chart Rule Changes for Fall 2020 blog post here.
Learn how Billboard will count merch bundles and licensed YouTube views for their album sales charts.
Billboard is making two changes to start the year that could significantly impact album charts for 2020. The first is how a merch bundle will be counted.
Changes to Merch Bundles
A merch bundle is when an artist ties together the merchandise they are selling with a copy of their album. Moving forward, in order for a merch bundle to be counted as an album sale, all the items that are available as part of the bundle must also be available as individual items on the same website. The bundle must be priced at least $3.49 more than the individual item.
Previously, digital copies of albums could be bundled with exclusive merch and those sales would count towards the Billboard album charts.
This was an avenue that artists used to use to boost their album sales in the first week that’s no longer an option.
Although merch bundles will still be available the majority of fans who like to listen to their music through streaming will likely decide to skip the $3.49 for the digital copy and just listen to that music on the streaming services.
Additionally, Billboard’s album chart will start to include views from YouTube into their formula. However, only officially licensed content (living on the artists official YouTube or VEVO channel) will count to these charts. This is an interesting decision in contrast to their song charts where user generated content – living on any channel, does count. Billboard will be giving the same weight to Youtube views as it does to other streaming platforms, such as Spotify or Apple Music.
1,250 views from a paid user
3,750 views from a non-paying user
= 1 Album Sale
We are very excited to see how artists and labels react to these changes and if there are any big surprises at the top of the charts as a result of them.