Many people were critical of Lady Gaga’s Born This Way‘s incredible first-week sales of 1,108,000 copies sold, as 440,000 of those albums were sold through Amazon.com, and only for 99 cents. Though that may have been a genius marketing strategy at the time to secure an impressive first-week figure, Billboard is changing its rules so that scoring a #1 album by lowering the price of your LP will be a thing of the past.
From Billboard, “Unit sales for albums priced below $3.49 during their first four weeks of release will not be eligible for inclusion on the Billboard album charts and will not count towards sales data presented by Nielsen SoundScan. The rule also applies to reissued titles.”
Though the publication does not specifically call out Gaga’s Born This Way, it’s fairly obvious this is due to the pop star’s strategy of selling her album for less than a buck on Amazon — and in some cases, for free. (However, even if you subtracted Born This Way‘s entire first week’s worth of sales at that particular digital retailer, the album still would have sold 668,000 copies, landing it at the top of that week’s charts regardless.)
This is not the first time a rule put in place by a major music agency has been allegefly affected by something to do with Gaga — the Grammys changed the eligibility rules for being nominated for Best New Artist after the singer was shut-out of the race due to a prior nomination in the Dance category.
Billboard‘s new rule change will take place beginning November 21, which sees album releases from the likes of Rihanna, Mary J. Blige, James Durbin, Nickelback and Chris Daughtry, as well as Michael Jackson (his IMMORTAL soundtrack).