When an artist sells a lot of product these days, they expect to be compensated for it via a high Billboard chart position, especially if that number is north of 100,000 units. But it really depends how the albums were sold, and that’s what led to a dispute by DJ Khaled and Billboard that might even result in a lawsuit.
It seems that DJ Khaled came in at #2 on the Billboard Hot 200 album charts a few weeks ago after the service disqualified about 100,000 sales. The reason? Khaled’s Father of Asahd album was bundled with energy drinks Awake Energy Shot and Isotonix Turn Up via a big promotion on shop.com.
After Prince initiated the album bundle with tickets to his tour about 10 years ago, it’s become obvious that an album/product bundle is just another way to game the system, as it’s easy enough for the artist or artist management to just buy in bulk and do giveaways (especially with an energy drink). Although no one has come out and said that happened in this case, Billboard decided to disqualify the bundle anyway, which sent DJ Khaled into a rage.
According to the New York Times, Billboard officials suspected “that some of the marketing by Shop.com and its corporate parent, Market America, had crossed a line by encouraging unauthorized bulk sales”.
Now the interesting thing here is that the Billboard charts mean less and less, and probably 99% of artists would be just fine with a #2 chart position. They’d be looking more at the Apple Music and Spotify charts for a real indication of how their music was faring.
Not Khaled however, who seems to be a bit of a self-promoter, so #2 is definitely not good enough when it comes to his marketing.
That’s resulted in the threat of a “monster lawsuit, by Khaled and his management” that’s probably garnered him more press than any #1 ever would. It could also have a bearing on chart positions for years to come.