(Hypebot) — Billboard has decided that Kanye West’s $200 Stem Player-only independent Donda 2 album release is not eligible for inclusion on the official Billboard Charts.
Kanye West who now goes by the name Ye said in a Feb. 18 Instagram post that he had sold 39,500 Stem Players for total sales of more than $8.6 million with $1.3 million of those sales coming in the first day of Donda 2’s release.
That’s more than enough to chart on Billboard despite the album not being available on any streamer, but the music trade publication is blocking its inclusion.
“That’s because the album is being sold with a device that can be used for other means besides the playing of the album,” according to Billboard. “As such, the Stem/Donda package would fall within Billboard’s latest merch bundle policy, where albums sold with merchandise are not chart eligible.”
Should Kanye care?
Some will dismiss this as further proof that the Billboard charts are irrelevant or at most one of many measurements of new release success. But without a chart position or the usual streaming stats, Donda 2 seems unlikely to get the widespread recognition of West’s previous releases.
Then again, selling $200 albums deserves an entirely different measure of success than essentially streaming new music for free.
Bruce Houghton is Founder and Editor of Hypebot and MusicThinkTank and serves as a Senior Advisor to Bandsintown which acquired both publications in 2019. He is the Founder and President of the Skyline Artists Agency and a professor for the Berklee College Of Music.