Todd Martens of the LA Times recently wrote a piece covering the changes Billboard is making to their album charts to account for the deeply discounted sales increasingly found on Amazon and Google. In short, albums that are sold for less than $3.49 will not be counted toward total sales. You’re probably thinking, so what?
Consider this: of the 1.1 million total copies of Lady Gaga‘s album Born this Way sold in the first week, 440,000 copies were sold for $0.99 through an Amazon promotion. If you take these out, her sales would have been “well behind the 964,000 units of Lil Wayne‘s ‘Tha Carter IV’.”
Sure sure, this is still a battle that shouldn’t concern anyone who survives well below the top 40 cutoff. But as Martens points out, this could very well hurt smaller bands who cut album pricing simply as a way to get their music in more hands. And what about those who simply ask that you pay the price that you think it’s worth, which is more often than not $0?
Furthermore, if Billboard’s aim really is to “close the gap between hype and the albums fans actually wanted to purchase,” shouldn’t these sales count for something? If they don’t count for full album sales, deeply discounted album sales could at least count toward single sales. Or why don’t they just gauge sales by total revenue like they do for movies?
In the end this is really just one more example of how the music industry is changing way too fast for anyone to get a hold on it. It’s like we know the beast is alive but there are way too many throbbing pulses to know which one is giving the best representation of its health.
Read the full article referenced above at this link.