We all saw what happened with Lady Gaga's Born This Way. The pop star offered her album for 99 cents during the first week, and demand was so high that Amazon crashed for a day. She ended up selling over a million copies and dominating the Billboard charts. Even without the discount, Gaga would have done just fine, but this was only one example of a new way of thinking with an emphasis on boosting first week sales and chart performance.
Billboard has been evaluating this new type of strategy, and they've decided that they don't want this first-week discount tactic to affect their chart results. They've laid out some new rules. Here's the idea:
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.
Unit sales for Digital Tracks priced below $0.39 during their first three months of release will not be eligible for inclusion on Billboard's digital songs charts.
Basically, albums and songs that are offered for a deep discount won't be counted. The new rules will be effective starting November 21. For the full breakdown, head over to Billboard.