Album bundling has become a well-known tactic in the industry, boosting artists’ latest record on the charts due to ticket sales, and now, the idea has been extended to Broadway.
The Broadway musical Jagged Little Pill, based on Alanis Morissette’s 1995 album of the same name, debuted on Broadway earlier this month. Now, the musical is the first to offer a cast album bundled with a ticket. For just $2 more, theatergoers can purchase a digital copy of the cast album when they buy tickets to weekday performances through July 2, 2020 before December 31, 2019. Ticketholders will receive a download code emailed to them, which is limited to one code per order.
The cast album, which dropped November 29, features 23 songs from the musical’s original Broadway cast. While the cast re-recorded some of Morissette’s tracks off the original album, like “Ironic” and “You Oughta Know,” it also features new songs strictly from the play.
While the bundling tactic is widely used, its also been criticized in the past. Both Metallica and Jack White had their albums score spots on the top of the Billboard 200 when their tours went on sale. Rather than streams, both artists topped the list with sales. The same happened with Bon Jovi; although his record This House Is Not For Sale hadn’t been on the Billboard chart for a year and a half, the record shot to No. 1 when he bundled the album with his 2018 tour.
A senior analyst at Nielsen Holdings told the New York Times last year that the practice of ticket-bundling is “legitimate,” as fans have to redeem the CD with the code they received with the ticket.
“This is the way that people are getting albums in their hands,” Bakula told the Times. “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.”
The idea, however, is causing conflicts within the industry, making it hard to see how well an album actually did. Tyler, The Creator and Khaled were pitted against each other last year when their respective albums received a similar amount of streams, making their sales the defining factor for a spot on the charts. Billboard told the Times that it would revisit its bundling rules.
Under new rules, which will go into effect January 3, 2020, the merchandise/album bundle must cost at least $3.49 more than the merchandise because $3.49 is the minimum price of an album to qualify for the charts. Additionally, the albums must be redeemed to count toward the charts to indicate a desire by the consumer to actually receive the album.
Jagged Little Pill‘s ticket bundle is $2, and it’s just making the cut before the rule is implemented. If the cast album sells well, it’ll be interesting to see if other Broadway shows hop on board with this idea.