The Battle Over Venue Sales Reports To Nielson Soundscan & Billboard

image from Earlier this month, Billboard and Nielson Soundscan issued a new set of guidelines for reporting music sales at venues and ticket/album bundles. Documented venue sales are combined with other sources to determine position on a many Soundscan and Billboard charts. Most controversial, was a new requirement that fans buying a CD at a venue must sign a sheet to be submitted to Nielson along with others forms. In addition to privacy issues, many found the additional reporting requirement onerous. This week Billboard and Nielson Soundscan backed off, at least for now.

In a letter distributed by Billboard’s Director of Charts, Silvio Pietroluongo, the two companies signaled the latest shift. "After much consideration, and following some very productive feedback, Billboard and Nielsen SoundScan have decided to hold off on the implementation of the Venue Sales policy requiring the submission of consumer signature sheets," wrote Pietroluongo. 

Signatures Could Make A Comeback

"Processing accurate sales data is very important to both Billboard and Nielsen SoundScan, and Nielsen will continue to verify venue sales to the best of their abilities under the processes that were already in place," continued the Billboard chart editor who did not rule out requiring signatures in the future. "Any questionable submissions may ultimately lead to more stringent requirements for the parties involved going forward, including the use of signature sheets."

The Rules

Along with each change, came a new set of rules and paperwork that must be filled out and submitted along with a $500 annual fee and "delivered on Thursday thru Friday 12:00 pm EST" to be considered for chart inclusion.You and grab a pdf of the new rules along with highlights of my personal favorites like the fact that sales at most non-traditional venues don't count.

MORE: Get New Soundscan Forms To Report CD Sales At Venues & Album/Ticket Bundles

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