Travis Scott’s new album Astroworld has earned the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200 albums chart for a second straight week, as Billboard reports. Since its release, Scott’s album has moved 205,000 album-equivalent units, 78,000 of which represent traditional album sales. Following the release at No. 2 is Nicki Minaj’s new album Queen, which has moved 185,000 units in its first week alone, 78,000 of which represent traditional sales.
Nicki doesn’t seem too happy with the No. 2 spot, calling out Scott on Twitter for artificially inflating his chart position by bundling the album with tickets to his upcoming North American tour. “Travis sold over 50k of these,” Nicki wrote on Twitter in reference to the ticket bundles. “With no requirement of redeeming the album! With no dates for a tour etc. I spoke to him. He knows he doesn’t have the #1 album this week.”
Bundling digital files with concert tickets is becoming an increasingly popular way for musicians to game the charts. Others like Taylor Swift, Katy Perry and even Arcade Fire have faced similar accusations of artificially inflating their chart positions with ticket deals, exclusive merch options, and even strange social media gimmicks designed to turn the giddy enthusiasm of young fans into satisfactory metrics for artists and their teams.
But is there really any objective way to quantify music listening habits anymore? As users continue to move away from media ownership toward ad-supported and subscription-based streaming models, the burden has increasingly fallen on Billboard to continually update the charts to reflect the realities of the current moment, often with ample room for bad actors at each step of the way. While nobody know just what to do about the charts in 2018, at least some artists are asking these questions in the open. Read Nicki’s tweets below.