Billboard & MRC Data have announced charting rule updates for 2022, effective in the coming weeks. In an effort to keep your sales compliant and chart-eligible, read below for some of the most notable changes
Digital Bulk Rule Adjustment
The most notable change related to consumer purchases is the adjustment to rules around multiple or bulk digital purchases and their charting eligibility. Currently, 1 - 4 “unit” (album or single) purchases by one customer are counted, while 5 - 9 unit purchases are reverted to a max of 4 eligible sales. 10 or purchases by the same customer are dismissed.
Beginning with the tracking week of Dec. 31, 2021, through Jan. 6, 2022:
1 unit purchase will be counted
2 or more units purchased by a customer will not be counted.
The policy will not change for physical UPC sales as bulk will continue to be applied using the current standards noted above
Pricing Policy Updates
The minimum pricing point for single and albums has not changed, but those pricing floors now apply for the entire cycle of a release, a change from the rule that allowed lower price points within the first 4 weeks.
Pricing eligibility recap:
Unit sales for albums priced below $3.49 at any point will not be eligible for inclusion on the Billboard album charts and will not count towards sales data presented by MRC Data.
Albums and EP's with 8 or less tracks are not eligible if the total price is less than the sum of the tracks, multiplied by $0.39.
Unit sales for digital tracks priced below $0.39 at any point will not be eligible for inclusion on Billboard’s charts and will not count towards sales data presented by MRC Data.
Box Set Updates
This is less a change and more of a refresher to recent changes around bundling and box sets, and how those affect the reporting eligibility of album or single sales.
In short: album sales won’t be reported if bundled with merchandise or ticket to a show – even if album and merchandise or ticket are available a la carte.
MRC defines merchandise as “essentially anything that is not the album itself, including (but not limited to) clothing, paper goods, accessories, virtual items, concert pre-sale codes, access to merchandise or meet-n-greet opportunities, contest entries (with or without No Purchase Necessary entrance options), fan club access, and so forth.”
Note the important difference that albums can be promoted as add-ons to merch and/or tickets, but just cannot be baked in to the price of said merch or ticket.
Customers must make a clear choice to purchase an album on its own and the album purchase must “not yield any benefits or discounts to customer (this includes an album purchase yielding a discount on another album). Note: album price must be no lower than $3.49.”
Sales are not reportable if bundled with merch.
If any of the above is getting lost in translation, we totally get it. We’re here to help! Drop us a line if you have any questions.