So, yesterday it seemed like Britney Spears’ Blackout would top the Billboard 200 today, despite the fact that it was not the bestselling album in the country last week. That distinction actually goes to the Eagles’ new double-disc set, Long Road Out of Eden.
Less than twelve hours ago, Eden, which has sold over 700,000 copies (nearly twice as much as Blackout) was ineligible for the chart because it’s only available at Wal-Mart (and through the band’s website) — and Billboard does not list albums sold in a single retail outlet. Last night, however, the trade magazine announced an official change in its reporting policy. According to a press release, "Billboard will now allow exclusive album titles that are only available through one retailer to appear on The Billboard 200 and other Billboard charts," effective pronto.
The upshot: The Eagles are No. 1, baby! (Not a huge surprise considering the band’s Their Greatest Hits: 1971-1975 is the bestselling album in American music ever. But, whatever…)
Now, certain people will celebrate Billboard‘s change of heart as a victory for classic California rock over ultra-synthetic, producer-based teen pop. Others may view it as a simple triumph of age over beauty. And some may even take it as a comforting reaffirmation of their faith in charts. Me, I can’t help but see it as testimony to the undeniable market dominance of Wal-Mart.