When it comes to the revenue stream of a music artist, there are a variety of ways to make money. Aside from getting money from one’s music, musicians can make money from ticket sales, outside business ventures, selling merchandise, and more. Institutions, like Billboard, are well aware of this. Thus, they would allow these factors to influence the ranking of an artist’s respective album or song. However, Billboard has decided to change this practice.
For those that are unaware, Billboard compiles lists of music for different genres and forms (album/single) and ranks them. They rank them based on several different components. Let’s look at how they determine the list for Top 100 singles. These factors include radio play, sales data, streaming data, and more, according to Billboard.
Recently, they have decided to alter their ranking rules to lessen the influence of merchandise and ticket sales. According to their website, they claim, “all albums bundled with either merchandise or concert tickets must be promoted as an a la carte add-on to those purchases in order to be counted on the charts.” They believe that this will more accurate reflect “consumer choice” in wanting the music, instead of in the past when albums, merchandise, and tickets were simply bundled together with no distinction for the buyer. Also, a physical item will only be counted “once the physical item has been shifted.” This would prevent first week numbers from being inflated if products haven’t been shipped yet to the consumer. Ultimately, Billboard does not want merchandise and ticket sales to heavily impact the ranking of an artist’s music, as it did in the past.
The issue of merchandise, concert tickets and more, playing a role in determining an album or single’s place on the Billboard chart has been a highly discussed issue. We saw controversy occur when Nicki Minaj took issue with Travis Scott beating her on the Billboard 200 album list. As of now, Billboard has not announced when these rules will be set in effect.