Official US Chart Rules

  • Updated

Follow the rules...

Bulk Rules:

Multiple Copies - Digital:

Only 1 purchase of any UPC or ISRC will be counted per customer. If a customer buys more than 1 unit of any particular UPC or ISRC, the sale will be adjusted down to 1 unit.

❗️IMPORTANT: This limitation does NOT reset after a certain period of time.❗️

Multiple Copies - Physical:

If a fan purchases up to 4 copies of a record, each copy is reported as an official sale. If a fan purchases 5 to 9 copies, this results in 4 charting album sales. Purchases of 10 or more albums constitutes a bulk sale, and none count towards the Billboard charts.

❗️IMPORTANT: Only 4 physical copies of a UPC may be reported PER CUSTOMER. Multiple orders by the same customer that add up to more than 4 copies purchased will not result in more than 4 copies reporting.❗️

Merchandise and Ticket / Album Bundles:

ALBUMS:

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 (minimum four weeks prior to release date).

Merchandise includes, but is not limited to:

  • Clothing.
  • Accessories.
  • Concert pre-sale codes.
  • Access to merchandise.
  • Meet and greet opportunities.
  • Contest entries (with or without "No Purchase" entrance options).
  • Fan club access.
  • Paper goods like signed art cards, additional signed CD booklets/inserts, etc.

*However, items such as clothing and paper goods may be contained within a finished goods physical album boxed set/package, and count as a sale, following advance approval (minimum four weeks prior to release date).

**Artist Signatures on pre-packaged physical albums are allowable if the signature is contained on the booklet or album packaging and not part of a loose item distributed along with the album.

The following non-tangible, virtual and/or digital items are also considered to be merchandise:

  • NFT's.
  • Digital Album covers that may include personalized text/notes, animated or moving images, virtual or augmented reality capabilities.

*However, digital album covers can continue to have alternative digital covers that have been acceptable in the past, which may include static images, including printed static "digital signatures."

SINGLES:

Sales of singles/tracks are not reportable if bundled with merchandise. That includes any finished goods package.

Merchandise includes, but is not limited to:

  • Clothing.
  • Accessories.
  • Concert pre-sale codes.
  • Access to merchandise.
  • Meet and greet opportunities.
  • Contest entries (with or without "No Purchase" entrance options).
  • Fan club access.
  • Paper goods like signed art cards, additional signed CD booklets/inserts, etc.

The following non-tangible, virtual and/or digital items are also considered to be merchandise:

  • NFT's.
  • Digital Album covers that may include personalized text/notes, animated or moving images, virtual or augmented reality capabilities.

*However, digital song covers can continue to have alternative digital covers that have been acceptable in the past, which may include static images, but NOT a digital signature or any other virtual enhancement.

*Artist Signatures on pre-packaged physical singles are also NOT allowable.

Note: For more details on bundles and the rules around them, check out Luminate Data's (formerly MRC/SoundScan) helpful article HERE.

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.

Boxed Sets:

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 Luminate Data (formerly MRC/SoundScan) / 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 Luminate 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 Luminate 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 Luminate Data and Billboard.

Note: Read more about boxed sets HERE.

In-Store Events / Pop-up Fan Experience:

Sales are eligible under certain circumstances and require prior approval. View the entire protocol HERE.

Reporting Album Sales from Live Shows:

Sales that take place at venues must be reported through atVenu. Luminate Data (formerly MRC/SoundScan) rules for reporting venue sales can be found in the atVenu Help Center

Physical/Digital Music Bundles:

ALBUMS:

  • 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.
  • If the bundle includes multiple albums, and no other merchandise, it must be tracked as it's own, separate item. A Separate UPC must be registered, and the sales for the multi-album bundle must be reported under that UPC.

SINGLES:

  • 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.

Note: You can read more about Billboard Reporting Rules and Eligibility HERE.

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