Follow the rules...
Merchandise and Ticket / Album Bundles:
Album sales cannot be reported if bundled with merchandise or ticket to an artist event/concert – even if album and merchandise or ticket are available a la carte.
Merchandise is 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.
Physical format albums sold within a finished goods boxed set/package, that may contain clearly artist/album-branded merchandise items), can continue to count as a sale as normal, following advance approval.
Adding an Album to a Purchase:
An album can be promoted as an add-on sale to a merchandise item or ticket – not baked-in to merchandise or ticket. Customer would make clear choice to purchase an album on its own, as a separate item, and album purchase must not yield any benefits or discounts to customer (this includes an album purchase yielding a discount on another album). Album price must be no lower than $3.49.
Incentivizing Music Purchases:
There can be no contesting or incentives to the consumer to buy music in return for — or a chance to win access to — goods or experiences (whether virtual or actual), benefits or discounts of any kind. For the sake of clarity, the purchase of a music product (album, single, song/track, etc.) cannot yield a discount on the purchase of another music product.
A physical format album (CD, vinyl LP, cassette, etc.) sold within a finished goods boxed set/boxed package (a package manufactured as a pre-set box, together with clearly artist/album-branded merchandise items, not a pre-pack of loose goods) can continue to count as a sale as normal, following advance approval from MRC Data / Billboard. (Artist/album-branded merchandise allowances will not change from currently allowable branding elements.)
The boxed package must have its own unique UPC code separate from any other version of the album and must be submitted for pre-approval to Billboard and MRC Data by the label or retailer at least four weeks in advance of the street date/release date of the package. Boxed package sales are reported to MRC Data upon shipment of the physical package to the customer, or sale to the customer at the point-of-purchase if in a brick-and-mortar environment. If a digital download is included with the purchase, that is not the reportable album format. If multiple physical formats of the same album are contained within a boxed package, the sale of the box only counts as one album sale. For further details on boxed set approval process, contact MRC Data and Billboard.
In-Store Experiences / Meet-and-Greets, etc.:
Sales of an album at an event at a brick-and-mortar retailer store (a traditional physical store operated by an active, recurring traditional music-based MRC Data-reporting retailer, not an event space or pop-up store the retailer is supporting) administered by the same active MRC Data retailer that runs the store -- which may involve an in-person autograph signing, photo opportunity, performance or some other in-person artist-related experience – including where the album purchase is the means of accessing the event, are allowable. Albums must be distributed on-site, and sales are reported as traditional sales by the MRC Data-reporting retailer.
Physical/Digital Music Bundles:
- Multiple formats of the same album can be bundled together (CD + Vinyl LP, CD + Digital Album, etc.).
- However, only one sale from each bundle is reportable.
- In a Physical + Digital Album combination, ONLY the physical sale is the reportable sale, when it is fulfilled to the customer. If there are more than one physical formats in a bundle, with a digital album, the first physical configuration in the bundle that is fulfilled to the customer will be the reported sale and configuration.
- When two (or more) Physical Albums are part of the purchase (CD + Vinyl, for example), and no Digital Album, the first physical configuration in the bundle that is fulfilled to the customer will be the reported sale and configuration.
- If there is only one format of an album sold (no bundle of multiple albums), then the sale continues to report as normal: when that album is fulfilled to the customer.
- Multiple formats of the same single can be bundled together (CD Single + Vinyl Single, Cassette Single + Digital Track, etc.).
- However, only one sale from each bundle is reportable.
- In a Physical + Digital Single/Track combination, ONLY the physical sale is the reportable sale, when it is fulfilled to the customer. If there are more than one physical configurations in a bundle, with a digital single/track, the first physical configuration in the bundle that is fulfilled to the customer will be the reported sale and configuration.
- When two (or more) Physical Singles are part of the purchase (CD Single + Vinyl Single, for example), and no Digital Single/Track, the first physical configuration in the bundle that is fulfilled to the customer will be the reported sale and configuration.
- If multiple copies of a digital song or track is sold as an item (example: a clean and explicit version of the same digital track), this would be reported under a single UPC, not by ISRC.
- If there is only one configuration of a single sold (one CD single, one vinyl single, one cassette single; no bundle of multiple singles), then the sale continues to report as normal: when that single is fulfilled to the customer.