My first thought while looking at this week’s Nielsen SoundScan report of the week’s top-selling albums and finding the No. 11 slot occupied by “Chimes of Freedom: The Songs of Bob Dylan," the new multi-artist tribute album benefiting Amnesty International, was: “Pretty impressive for a four-CD set.”
Then came a sense of déjà vu looking further down the chart to No. 39 and spotting ... "Chimes of Freedom: The Songs of Bob Dylan,” the new multi-artist tribute album benefiting Amnesty International.
The explanation for the apparent paradox is fairly simple: The album that sold nearly 22,500 copies and is ranked No. 11 is the full 4-CD set containing 76 tracks by 80 artists, selling for about $20 at Amazon.com and other online and physical retailers.
The entry lodged at No. 39 is the 2-CD, 31-track version assembled by and sold for $14.95 at Starbucks locations nationwide, accounting for another 10,000 copies. Nielsen SoundScan, in collaboration with Billboard, reports and charts sales separately because they are physically different products.
"The deluxe four-CD version of 'Chimes' extends beyond one additional CD (or digital equivalent) of bonus content (as compared to the standard two-CD version), thus it charts separately," Billboard's associate director of charts, Keith Caulfield, explained.
Proceeds from both editions help Amnesty International, but the segregation of their sales figures on the charts is a sore point for veteran record executive Jeff Ayeroff, co-producer of the project, a policy he chides as “simply arbitrary and lame.”