Lady Gaga’s Discounted Sales Change the Billboard Rules

Discounted album sales will no longer earn you a top spot on the Billboard charts.

Reform! Lady Gaga (or more accurately, the Lady Gaga team) made the decision to sell Born this Way for only $0.99 on Amazon, and sales went… Well, about as well as you’d expect a $0.99 Lady Gaga product would go.  According to Billboard, the LP topped charts, 1,108,000 copies in the first week alone, with approximately 440,000 sales via Amazon at the $0.99 price.  If you wanted to go shopping for phones at Best Buy, you could also pick up the album for free. We all know where this leads – the charts sang the name of Gaga loud for quite some time.

Now it appears Billboard is changing the rules. According to their site; “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 site fails to list a specific reason for the change, but one can assume it comes as a result as Gaga lower-priced sales. The news almost seems to be a slap on the wrist to Lady Gaga’s marketing team. If we apply the current Billboard rules (minimum price of $3.49 during first four weeks, applies to reissues, digital tracks require $0.39 price during first three months), then Lil Wayne’s The Carter IV boasts the years best opening sales week. Well… that’s certainly news.

While this news partially feels like Billboard having to deal with complaining PR guys, it also has implications for Lady Gaga’s future as well. The woman is a powerhouse, and whether or not she actually makes it into the Billboard charts doesn’t mean anything compared to her social presence. Though, after time, it could be misconstrued as a negative sign of her social relevance. I’m interested in the next move her team will make, and what implications this will have on future marketing strategies for artist across the board.