Music Mess: How to rank Pop Charts when pricing is different

Music Mess as iTunes Discounts Adele, Carrie Underwood, Versus Bieber, One Direction
by Roger Friedman - November 4, 2015 10:14 am

It’s hard to measure what’s actually number 1 when everything is a different price.

On the pop charts, pricing is now an issue as all the top hits are being offered at wildly conflicting ranges.

For example: iTunes has pumped up sales of Carrie Underwood’s new album by discounting it to an incredible $5.99. The result is that “Storyteller” is number 3 on the iTunes charts. Who wouldn’t buy something for $5.99 just to see what it is? That’s what albums sold for 40 years ago. “Storyteller” is also at that price (for download) at amazon.

Meanwhile, Adele’s forthcoming “25” album is ranked as the number 1 album on both iTunes, where it’s selling for $10.99, and amazon, where it’s the same price for the download and but only $9.99 for the CD, which you could buy and then upload into a computer for free. That’s four dollars off the basic list price. It’s also four dollars cheaper than the deluxe edition of One Direction’s “Made in the AM,” which is at number 6 on iTunes awaiting release next Friday, and two dollars less than Justin Bieber’s “Purpose,” currently second to Adele.

So what’s doing better? The deep discounted albums or the highly price ones? Over at amazon, the Beatles’ new “1+1” box set, selling for $50.98, is at number 4 among their physical CDs.

And who’s eating the cost of these discounts? The record companies take the hit to stimulate sales and chart position. But there’s no parity, just a free-for-all on the charts.


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