Billboard has announced new rules for their sales metrics. Before, labels could “bundle” merchandise along with an album purchase in an attempt to boost sales. As of January 3, 2020, the album plus merchandise bundle must cost at least $3.49 more than merchandise alone. The $3.49 amount represents the minimum price of an album in order to qualify for Billboard charts.
Additionally, the items included in bundles must “be available for purchase concurrently and individually on the same website.”
The bundles must only be sold via “an artist’s official direct-to-consumer web store and not via third-party sites.”
The previous rules have sparked disputes in the past. DJ Khaled’s Father of Asahd album didn’t reach No. 1 when many of his bundled sales were disqualified due to their partnership with a third-party site. And Nicki Minaj infamously cited the rule in regards to Travis Scott’s Astroworld in August 2018.