November 12, 2009


I always wondered why Billboard magazine didn’t include catalog items when tabulating sales on their Top 200 album and singles chart. Now finally all of that has changed! I’m especially grateful that it’s happening at a time when I have four tracks on three recent Michael Jackson re-releases.

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Good news for fans of Michael Jackson, the Beatles and other veteran artists.

The compilers of the Billboard 200, the benchmark pop albums chart in the United States, said on Wednesday they would dramatically overhaul the listing later this month to include catalog recordings as well as current releases.

The Billboard 200 generally lists only albums released in the past 18 months, and accordingly failed to reflect two of the biggest events in the music world this year: Jackson’s death and the reissue of the Beatles catalog.

Fans scooped up millions of copies of both artists’ albums, but an 18-year-old policy at trade publication Billboard meant that the stampede was marked in its relatively obscure Top Comprehensive Albums chart, which combines both current and catalog releases.

The comprehensive chart essentially becomes the new Billboard 200. The change takes effect for the week ended November 22. Sales data, collected by tracking firm Nielsen SoundScan, are published on Wednesdays.

If last week’s Billboard 200 were based on overall sales, 35 catalog titles would storm the chart, led by Jackson’s “Number Ones” at No. 13, Billboard said.

The 2003 compilation was the top album in the United States for six weeks in the wake of his June 25 death, and Jackson is the second-biggest selling artist of the year, just behind country star Taylor Swift.

The first new-look Billboard 200 could include up to seven of Jackson’s solo catalog titles, as well as a pair from the Jackson 5, depending on overall sales.

The Beatles reissued their digitally remastered catalog in September. First-week sales would have sent five of the group’s albums into the top 10 of the Billboard 200, led by “Abbey Road” at No. 3. The new chart could also include up to seven Beatles albums.

Greatest-hits albums by the likes of Bob Marley, Journey, Guns N’ Roses and Creedence Clearwater Revival could also make the cut.

“The events of 2009 and the continuing creativity in the repackaging of catalog titles have led us to conclude that the Billboard 200 would be best served presenting the true best-sellers in the country, without any catalog-related rules or stipulations, to our readers, the media and music fans,” said Silvio Pietroluongo, Billboard’s director of charts.

(Reporting by Dean Goodman; Editing by Jill Serjeant)

Copyright 2009 by Artie Wayne




  1. Larry Says:

    Good–catalog items should be on the Regular Top Albums chart if their sales demand it. I remember in 1986 and 1987, when the Monkees regained their popularity through MTV, seven of their albums made the Billboard charts again–on the regular chart. This not only showed their refound popularity, but showed that people were interested enough to buy their recordings once again. Why shouldn’t they be on the regular chart, and why shouldn’t the Beatles and Jackson if their sales show they deserve it? Remember, Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon would never have been on the chart of a record amount of weeks if the album chart excluded catalog albums, and neither would Johnny Mathis’ Greatest Hits have been on the chart. This change in policy beneifts everyone, making it a truer barometer of what is selling–and what isn’t.

  2. Congrats,
    I wonder if it affects me.Love Arthur Kornfeld,Would love to hear your prcious voice.I am going through the sick am I loseing it stage.Icon-shmikon I get scared by my own self.

  3. Gary Theroux Says:

    I remember well when Billboard decided to stop listing catalog albums on their Top 200 album chart. Their goal, apparently, was to create the impression that newer releases — the ones labels were then promoting the hardest through Billboard ads and elsewhere — were more popular than they actually were. The labels did not like side by side comparisons which showed than many (or even any) “ancient” releases like Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” were STILL, on a week-by-week basis, outselling the current hypes.

    In order to buy into that viewpoint, you had to think of music in the same way you’d view a loaf of bread. When it’s new, it’s hot and delicious. But, as time goes on, it becomes more stale and unpalatable. In fact, within a relatively short time, you simply throw it out and forget it ever existed. In music, this is known as the disposable pop theory. You see this all the time on VH1 and MTV when they run a special featuring untalented idiots putting down “the worst music of all time.” Only thing is, the videos they’re hooting at are precisely the same ones VH1 and MTV were totally in the bag for only a few years earlier. So what makes those huge-selling tracks now suddenly junk? After all, unlike bread, a recorded track does not change over time.

    Oddly enough, nearly all of the newly reviled recordings were cut by artists no longer in the spotlight — so it’s therefore OK to smugly diss THEM. But it does make you wonder. If those tracks were so awful, then why did VH1 and MTV play them in the first place? And what are they mooning over NOW that a few years hence they’ll view with contempt? Why should anyone become a fan of anything — if it’s only going to become the target of derision a short time down the road?

    According to the disposable pop theory, the #1 criteria one should use in evaluating music is NOT how effectively it paints a vivid, soul-stirring portrait of an emotion you can relate to. Instead, we’re supposed to ask how NEW it is — and how much it pleases the self-appointed trendsetting bozos whose sole purpose in life is to make our minds up for us. No thanks.

    The real reason you take a particular CD off the shelf to play is because of THE WAY IT WILL MAKE YOU FEEL. It will either reinforce the mood you’re in or take you to where you want to go. It doesn’t matter when the songs were written or when the tracks were recorded. Timeless beats trendy every time. Depending on MY mood, I’ll listen to anything from Fats Waller to Lady GaGa, Glenn Miller to Steve Miller, Karen Carpenter to Shania Twain, Spike Jones to The Moody Blues, Al Green to Elvis Presley, Ted Weems to The Beach Boys, Creedence Clearwater Revival to Taylor Swift. How new the recordings are does not make a particle of difference to me. Instead, to quote Berry Gordy, “it’s what’s in the groove that counts.”

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