The album is free, but the t-shirt is $49.99 plus shipping.

This has been a very common trend in the music industry since Billboard made the ruling of bundles counting toward album sales numbers several years ago. Now they’re changing the rules back.

Here’s how it works, an artist like Travis Scott, releases his album Astroworld, and on his online store, he offers the album up for free as a digital download if you buy an Astroworld shirt. Then you watch your loyal following 1) buy your merch, and 2) buy your album.

The problems with this won’t fit in this blogpost, but we’ll start with the fact that these album sales aren’t really album sales, they’re t-shirt sales. They also highly inflate actual album sales numbers, and finally, they put smaller artists, who don’t want to play this game, much lower in the chart rankings because they didn’t have an army of fans buying their bundles.

BTS has done this, Lady Gaga has done this, and even the loudest DJ in the world, DJ Khaled, has hilariously done this. {Editors note: although Khaled swung for the fence on this release, Tyler the Creator’s IGOR still beat him out. Khaled was salty

For all of these reasons, Billboard has pulled back this rule. How this affects the majority of artists is yet to be seen, but it has heavily impacted two of the most obnoxious. Convicted snitch, Tekashi 6ixN9ne, and Nicki Minaj, put out their collab “Yaya” last week, and thanks to bundles with t-shirts offered on both of their sites, it went #1. However, once this rule change went into effect, the song PLUMMETED to #34.

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