[BBANGYA NEWS｜Yulia Cho] Billboard announced that they will re-set the guidelines for album charts in regards to merchandise bundles.
They added that ◆items sold individually would have to be priced lower than the bundle itself while the price of the bundle itself shouldn't be less than $3.49 to count towards the charts. ◆These bundles can only be sold through the artist’s official website and not through any third-party websites. ◆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. Also, ◆all the items in the bundle must also be available for purchase concurrently and individually on the same website for an album sale to count as part of a merchandise/album bundle.
Billboard stated that these new rules are 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.” While some assume that the sudden change of policy may be due to "SuperM scandal", Billboard revealed that the new rules look to address that concern, by offering customers the option to purchase the merchandise with or without the album. Artists that reportedly have taken advantage of bundle offer in 2019 include Celine Dion, Kanye West, SuperM, Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, and more.
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.