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Billboard Announces New Merch and Album Rules

Billboard is one of the most popular names in the music industry, especially when it comes to music charts. They recently announced that they are in the works of making a rule that will reduce the skewing of positions on Billboard’s album charts. Bundling, which is when merchandise and a musician’s album are packaged together, has given artists the opportunity to have a higher spot of Billboards’ albums charts, but Billboard is looking to place rules that will be fair for all musicians, whether they bundle of not. From January 3, 2020, albums included in the bundles can no longer be free, they must be at least $3.49 per bundle. Also, the merchandise must be available outside of the bundle and priced lower than the bundle cost, and sold on the artists’ official website, not a third-party website. Concert ticket bundles will still be allowed, without any further restrictions, but artists and their teams must be aware of these new restrictions.

It’s not uncommon for artists to have bundles for their fans, such as DJ Khaled packaging the Father of Asahd album with a special DJ Khaled energy drink, or Chris Brown giving his Indigoat Tour ticket holders a free copy of his Indigo album with each pair of tickets they purchase. Merch and album bundles have increased recently, because most music fans prefer to stream their favorite artists’ new music, rather than going online or in store to buy the physical CD. So far, 2019 has seen a nearly 20% decrease in total album sales, and it is expected that the number will continue to decrease as listeners solely rely on their electronic devices. It will be interesting to see how this affects the music industry’s album sales for the year of 2020.

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