Billboard is reintroducing “limited merchandise/physical album combinations” to its charts

Billboard has officially announced plans to return select merch bundles to its album charts starting June 30th.

This latest change in selling eligibility came only recently, after Billboard announced in the summer of 2020 that its charts would stop factoring merch and ticket-related packages. In a more than 600-word explanation of the latter decision nearly three years ago, the broadcaster clarified that it had “decided to do away with the practice of counting albums bundled with merchandise and concert tickets in its album and song charts altogether .”

In the meantime, Billboard has repeatedly reiterated the no-bundle policy – including in the explanation wound 2, which Kanye West released exclusively on his $200 Stem player, failed to chart, despite selling multiple copies and grossing a sizable sum. (Roughly 15 months after its debut, the player is currently still being sold on eBay – albeit for a significantly lower amount than the original price.)

However, according to Billboard, the rules are set to change again on June 30 (and for the charts July 15). It states that “limited combinations of merchandise items and physical albums” will be expected in the charts.

These limited combinations refer specifically to merch-album combinations, dubbed “Fan Packs,” which “will be limited to only two options per album release.” In addition, the different components of these options – for example a t-shirt with a CD and a sweatshirt with the vinyl edition of an album – must be available separately “in the same webshop”.

Meanwhile, the Fan Packs can only consist of physical music projects (no digital downloads) and merchandise items (excluding tickets, NFTs, meet-and-greet features and more), Billboard stated. As a further requirement for chart eligibility, both the outlet and Luminate must approve the fan packs described “prior to their sale date.”

Needless to say, it’s worth keeping an eye on the side effects of the decision, which certain acts with very dedicated fan bases could potentially use to boost their chart positioning. For example, as a testament to the ongoing commitment of die-hard K-pop fans to Hybe groups, including BTS, the South Korean company announced in its first-quarter earnings report that social platform WeVerse surpassed 9.3 million monthly active users have exceeded.

That’s nearly double the number of MAUs WeVerse had in the opening quarter of 2021, and later in 2023 these extremely dedicated supporters (who still struggle with the dynamic ticket pricing model Hybe now employs) will be able to purchase subscription memberships on the service.