Significant changes are anticipated in the Billboard 200 chart tallying method during the summer of 2023. Billboard's stance on bundles, which have been controversial for potentially manipulating chart rankings through "album bundling," appears to be shifting.

On May 4th, Billboard revealed in a press release that a new rule would be implemented in the Billboard 200 chart. "This regulation aims to prevent the bundle-related issues that were a matter of debate three years ago," they announced.

Billboard mentioned the so-called Fan Pack, a set of albums bundled with merchandise, stating, "This will be a way for fans to support artists on the charts." They clarified that a Fan Pack should be comprised of two options, and each individual item should be available for separate purchase in an online store. Benefits that cannot be categorized, like tickets, should not be included, and digital downloads will not be chart-eligible if bundled with merchandise. They further added that "an official Fan Pack must be approved by Billboard and Luminate to be included in the tally."

Sylvio Pietroluongo, the Executive Vice President of Billboard Chart and Data Partnerships, said, "A Fan Pack is a dynamic way to acknowledge the relationship between artists and fans." He emphasized, "48% of Gen Z listeners in the 2023 spring season wish for this type of product. Fan Packs provide fans with a way to efficiently consume both the artist's merchandise and music."

An example of a successful use of bundles was Prince's album 'Musicology,' which reached 3rd place on the Billboard 200 chart in 2004, achieving its best performance 13 years after its release. Analysts attribute this to the increased sales of bundles that included live performances by Prince.

Billboard also highlighted the previous album bundling controversy involving Celine Dion, Kanye West, Post Malone, Taylor Swift, Madonna, Billie Eilish, Khalid, Jonas Brothers, and Korean group SuperM, all of whom topped the Billboard 200 chart amid a surge in bundle sales in the late 2010s.

Since its first official record chart in July 1940 and the introduction of the Hot 100 chart in August 1958, Billboard has been in ongoing debates about its tallying methods. Now, by introducing the Fan Pack concept, it seems to be proposing a new approach.

Previously, to settle disputes over chart fairness due to album duplication issues, Billboard declared in 2019 that "all items in a bundle (a package including various goods) must be available for individual purchase on the same website." They also noted that "items sold individually should be cheaper than when bundled, and bundles should only be sold on the official direct sales website of the respective artist." Billboard also stipulated that the price of these bundles should be higher than the minimum album price set at $3.49. This move was aimed to ensure that only genuine album purchases were reflected in the chart and to clamp down on "album bundling."

However, with K-pop's chart domination backed by a strong fandom, coupled with a trend where securing a loyal fandom becomes a new key to controlling the charts, it is worth noting how Billboard's proposed Fan Packs will affect the Billboard 200 chart.