So…Billboard reported this (Billboard.biz Daily Bulletin May 25, 2011):
In fact, Billboard’s chart executives are excluding
Gaga’s Best Buy giveaway numbers
from the Billboard 200, as both the data service
and publication have a longstanding policy
of not counting albums that are given
away by retailers to consumers at no cost —
either as a stand-alone promotion or as part
of a bundle with another item — for charting purposes. But
sales resulting from the Amazon 99-cents promotion will be
factored into the Billboard 200, as those sales indicate consumer
intent. (Currently no price minimums for charting inclusion
have been established by Billboard for the sale of
stand-alone albums, as a pricing policy is difficult to police
with only sales volume — and not consumer cost — being
tracked by SoundScan’s data collection system.)
However, my Soundscan reporting policy sheet says this:
Product that is sold at less than 50% list price will not be processed.
Product that is sold at 50% below manufacturer’s list price at a venue will not be processed.
Retail/Brick & Mortar:
Nielsen SoundScan will not process music product that is sold at a price 50% below the list price.
Granted - that is for PHYSICAL product; I don’t understand why digital product isn’t treated the same way. Selling a physical album for $1 would definitely show intent, however, would not be eligible for Soundscan reporting.
I’m simply irritated that Amazon is being allowed to front load 1st week GaGa sales with the $0.99 album download promotion. Seems like those sales shouldn’t count - esp because it’s further diminishing the value of digital product. I get that it’s being chalked up to a marketing cost and that they’re just calling the album a promotional vehicle to support the rest of her 360 deal. But that is about Lady GaGa and her label deal - not about the “integrity” of Soundscan.