Bon Jovi’s latest record, This House Is Not For Sale, hit the No. 1 spot, and fell down, on Billboard’s Top 100 chart in 2016, but after bundling the album with his 2018 concert tickets, it has taken the spot once again, as well as helped the upcoming Rock & Roll Hall of Fame honoree to the No. 1 spot in the magazine’s Artists 100 rankings.
The year and a half gap between weeks at No. 1 set a record for Billboard, where the LP has had an interesting shelf life. After its initial week at No. 1, it plummeted all the way to No. 43, the first time a record had ever gone from the top spot to outside of the Top 40 in the span of a single week.
Bundling has become the name of the game for many artists, as the touring aspect of the business has become the primary method for generating income. Fans want to see a band tour, they can help the group gain publicity (and move units) when the album comes as part of the ticket package. Bon Jovi is headed out on tour next week, and fans that purchased a ticket also received a code redeemable for This House Is Not For Sale.
Senior analyst at Nielsen, David Bakula, explained to Billboard that ticket bundles are a legitimate practice, and they’re not offering the album just for the sake of doing so. “This is the way that people are getting albums in their hands,” Bakula said. “If I’m going to a Bon Jovi show, I may or may not go out and buy a copy. But if you offer one to me wrapped in the price of my ticket, then yes, absolutely, I want it.”
Some see the album/ticket bundle differently. Seth Hurwitz, indie concert promoter and venue owner-operator, says that “It’s just a flat-out scam.” While it’s beneficial for the artist and recording company, these buyers are paying for a CD that they didn’t necessarily ask for. Additionally, the bundle is in-turn affecting the tour sales, since these bundles go on sale way before the tour even is close to beginning.
These tactics are in no way a recent ploy – Ticketmaster first began the strategy over ten years ago. Various artists are following this lead, and in return, making more money on sales then they would have. Bon Jovi’s record has the equivalent of 120,000 sales in the United States, with virtually all sales from bundled copies of the album.
In recent months, Katy Perry, Pink, and Kenny Chesney have taken advantage of this opportunity, not to mention Taylor Swift’s including of her album among the myriad of things fans could buy to “boost” their spot in line for her upcoming tour. Given the economics of the industry, it’s unlikely the trend is going anywhere soon.