Billboard has quietly made some agreeable changes to its policy for tracking various artist compilations on its albums charts.
With effect from this week, streaming data and individual track sales for most various artist compilations isn’t counted toward those LPs’ standing on Billboard’s consumption-based album charts, which include the Billboard 200, the official albums tally for the United States.
The move is all about maintaining the integrity of its industry-standard charts. And the impact has been immediate, as two questionable titles are dumped this week from its main survey.
The tweak came about after titles such as Epic Records’ Epic AF compilation began impacting high on the Billboard 200. As Billboard’s sister publication Stereogum notes, Epic AF was “basically just a constantly evolving playlist of hit songs released on Epic. The label realised that it could game the system by throwing a bunch of its biggest tracks together on streaming platforms and calling it an album.”
Now the game is up as Epic AF and Summer Latin Hits 2017, both top 10 albums last week which disappear from the new survey, led by Katy Perry’s Witness.
From this point on, most various artists compilation albums will only be able to chart on the Billboard 200 and other album charts based on traditional album sales, the trade title notes.
“Track equivalent album (TEA) units and/or streaming equivalent album (SEA) units will no longer contribute to a various artists’ album ranking and unit count,” Billboard reports, though some soundtracks, cast recordings and thematic multi-artist compilation albums will be exempt from the changes.