Thursday, November 08, 2007

Hell freezes over; Eagles and WalMart benefit

Another one of the thousands of tiny cuts for the majors' current business model: in order to avoid the embarrassment of a high-profile, best-selling album not qualifying for the charts, Billboard have made an eleventh hour rule-change to album eligibility.

So, the old rules about records having to be "generally available" to count have been dumped and the WalMart-only Long Road Out Of Eden takes the US number one spot.

Of course, it was ridiculous to pretend that a record on sale in one of the seventy-eight squibbilion WalMarts wasn't "generally available" in the first place; but if records sold in one supermarket only can count, then it's hard to see how any other retailer's exclusive deal can be frozen out of the chart. And, of course, if you've cut a deal to have a store as sole distributor, why not get them to release the thing as well?

If Billboard apply these rules fairly and equitably, for example, those stores who do their own celebrity Christmas albums should see those being reflected in the charts.

Billboard might think its changed the rules for The Eagles; it's also shifted them for the RIAA companies.