BILLBOARD SHOULD STOP COUNTING BUNDLES
Carl Chery, head of urban music at Spotify, tweeted, "BTW...Billboard should stop counting BUNDLES. Too
much trickery. Let the music speak." That triggered multiple responses. Someone countered back with, "Billboard should stop counting STREAMS. Streaming services can be easily manipulated..." Another person added, "BILLBOARD is a trade magazine. It can be only as successful as the business it's writing about." Someone suggested, "Billboard should stop counting RADIO. Too much payola."
The responses showed while many may not agree on why the Billboard charts are fck'd up, they all agree that charts are fck'd up. Most people believe that Billboard manipulates their charts when they think they can get away with it, or they are using an outdated calculation method that benefits their personal relationships over the integrity of the Hot 100.
So, now that two blackballed artists legally outsmarted the system, insiders want to talk bundles. People in the industry want to push this narrative that getting rid of BUNDLES fixes the charts. Hell, even Nicki Minaj was not talking about getting rid of bundles back in 2018. She just wanted uniform regulation and continuity from Billboard. Let's look at Bundles vs Playlists, Radio, and Billboard's incompetency and decide what really needs to go bye-bye.
BUNDLES VS PLAYLISTS
I doubt you're going to convince the man over Rap Caviar to agree that Billboard should stop counting
streams...LOL. If music streams are deemed unnecessary, then playlists will no longer be relevant. But realistically, people stream music, and it should be counted. Just because people have found a way to manipulate streams doesn't mean you ignore them. Just like you don't stop counting bundles because an artist you don't like found a way around playlists to snag a No. 1 song.
“Trollz,” which would be one of the week’s hottest songs based on the instrumental track alone. - Variety
Getting on a major playlist is not about good music; it's about relationships. Curators use the playlists to promote artists they like and to punish artists they have a grudge against. "Trollz" is a great example because you would think that song would make a playlist, especially on Apple Music, where Nicki Minaj does Queen Radio. But, somehow, there was no playlist, even though it had the numbers and the hype behind it.
So, to make up for the lost audience, 6ix9ine and Nicki used bundles. Fans chose to buy the merchandise. Fans don't choose to be apart of music industry grudges, which happens when Ebro can't get out of his feelings. So, when people want to get rid of bundles, I say let's get rid of blackballing. There has to be a mechanism in place that allows artists to not be slaves to these streaming platforms. It's actually more work for artists who have to beg their fans to keep buying merchandise, than artists who schmoozed their way onto playlists. Which means they have schmooze their way to millions of streams. So, I can agree that bundles are not about the music, but neither are playlists.
BUNDLES VS RADIO
Do I even have to say anything about this? Radio counts way more on Billboard than it does in real life. The radio issue is similar to the playlist issues. You got DJ/hosts blackballing some artists while doing "For the Culture" campaigns for others. Radio does not represent what the people want; it represents who buys more ads, does more favors, or who radio is too scared to piss off.
Again, bundles help artists get around the radio bullsh*t.
BUNDLES VS BILLBOARD'S INCOMPETENCY
The real problem with bundles is that Billboard does not know what the fck they are doing. An example
of that would be the DJ Khaled fiasco. DJ Khaled was denied a No. 1 album because Billboard last minute decided they did not like how he was selling energy drinks. Also, it was a better story if Tyler, The Creator got the No. 1 spot. My question is WHY THE FCK WAS HE ALLOW TO SELL ENERGY DRINKS! The fact that an energy drink bundle was even approved was the real WTF moment in that mess. What does that a drink have to do with the music? Billboard being Billboard waits until it's time for Dj Khaled to get his sales counted to tell him that it's not fair.
I do not think bundles should include anything not related to the album or concert experience. For example, Megan Thee Stallion can sell cowgirl hats because it's related to her brand, and someone may want to wear it to her concert. However, she can't offer a pony with each album sale. No one is riding a pony to her show...LOL. That's going overboard. But, knowing Billboard, they will approve the pony and then disqualify the sales when it's time to award her with a No. 1 album.
Another issue is that Billboard is unprofessional and can't be trusted. When there was a battle for the
No. 1 album between 6ix9ine and Travis Scott, they GAVE it to Travis. Nielsen, who provides the data to Billboard, reported 69 sold more albums. Billboard told them...shhhhh. On top of that, when announcing Travis Scott was No. 1, they tweeted out a custom URL that read Fck 69. Now, y'all know I don't care for 69, but Billboard is not supposed to be a messy blog.
Yes, there are issues with bundles, but getting rid of them still leaves the problems with playlist, radio, and Billboard's incompetency. At least with bundles, fans are no longer being naive. They know exactly what is going on with all these merch sales, and they are a willing participant. You can't say the same with everything else. Do fans know why certain songs are kept off playlists or why some are added immediately? Do fans understand why they hear the same songs on the radio and never hear other ones? Do fans understand how Billboard Charts work? Hell, Billboard doesn't understand that!
"Don't cut off the artists' arms and legs, tell them to race, and then whine when they win" - Fck Yaya
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