Billboard Announces New “Fan Bundle” Rule for Chart Eligibility

Record store customer in Atlanta Georgia

A record store customer in Atlanta, Georgia, February 2023 (Photo by Dustin Chambers/Bloomberg)

Billboard Announces New “Fan Bundle” Rule for Chart Eligibility

The institution is reinstating merchandise bundles for album sales, with tight restrictions

Billboard has updated its eligibility rules again, restoring some formats of merchandise bundles in calculations for chart positions. The institution announced new guidelines for “fan bundle” sales, reversing its earlier decision to disallow them from counting toward chart placement. Read the full rundown here.

Billboard removed merch bundles from consideration in 2020, less than a year after instituting other restrictions aimed at reducing gamification of album sales. Under the new rules, artists may only sell two different “fan bundle” variations, which must come with a physical copy of the album and a merch item. The merchandise and the album copies must all be available for purchase from the artist, independent of one another.

In mid-2019, the change in policy over bundles allowed Tyler, the Creator’s Igor to take the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200 over DJ Khaled’s Father of Asahd, which had been bundled with items like energy drinks. Though the albums had near-identical streaming numbers, DJ Khaled had fewer album-equivalent units that counted toward his chart position because of the merch bundles. He reportedly threw a temper tantrum at Epic Records over his No. 2 position. Last year, Kanye West’s Donda 2 was ruled ineligible for the Billboard charts due to its exclusive distribution on West’s proprietary Stem Player.

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