HITS Daily Double


Apple Rethinks Its Chart Policy

About two weeks ago, and seemingly with no notice, Apple changed the way preorder redemptions are impacting the iTunes charts worldwide, a change that will likely result in lower chart peaks for many artists.

This was evident last week when Imagine Dragons peaked at #3 despite downloads of nearly three times the #2 album, the Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack, and double Drake’s surprise (read: no preorder) release, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, which remained at #1 all week.

Previously, titles in preorder would be ranked at the time the orders were placed AND again when the orders were redeemed. Titles with large preorders would immediately fly to the top of the chart on Monday night once the iTunes Store was turned over for the week’s new releases. Under the new policy, redemptions will no longer contribute to chart position as the advance sales will be ranked only during the preorder period as orders accumulate. New releases will be ranked based solely on the day’s performance above and beyond preorder redemptions.

Label insiders are wondering if this change will result in shorter preorders in an effort to give a release the best possible look and a shot at #1 at the world’s #1 music retailer. Released this week, Def Jam’s Big Sean currently sits at #1 after a relatively short preorder of 24 days. Most titles are in preorder for an average 30-40 days. Imagine Dragons was in preorder for 63 days. Will this change have a negative impact on sales and, if so, will it force the labels to rethink their preorder strategies? Stay tuned…