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Kanye West’s Donda 2 deemed ineligible for Billboard charts

By | Published on Tuesday 8 March 2022

Kanye West - Donda 2 launch event

I know this has been keeping you up at night, so you will no doubt be pleased to finally know that Kanye West’s ‘Donda 2’ album will not be eligible for the Billboard charts in the US. Not while it’s being sold exclusively on West’s Stem Player devices anyway.

West, of course, announced last month that his latest album would only be available to people who bought his $200 MP3 player devices, which add extra functionality for remixing tracks. In a later Instagram post he said that since the devices were launched last August, he’d sold 39,500 of them, earning him more than $8 million in total – $2 million of that in the 24 hours after he announced that ‘Donda 2’ wouldn’t be available on any digital music services.

It’s unlikely that West is shifting enough Stem Player units to make any big impact on the charts anyway, but Billboard and its sales counting buddies at MRC Data have announced that, whatever, the album isn’t chart eligible anyway.

According to Billboard, the album release falls foul of rules introduced in 2020 which deemed that albums sold along with merch or tickets wouldn’t go towards boosting an artist’s sales position. This followed controversy about artists bundling albums with other products to appeal to fans when an album download on its own wasn’t really of interest.

However, Billboard has not ruled out including Stem Player sales down the line, saying that because the devices are so new, it is still monitoring their evolution and will consider whether or not albums bundled with them should be counted toward chart positions in the future. Although, unless West starts shifting more significant numbers – or all artists start selling their albums on expensive MP3 player devices – it’s probably not going to make a huge amount of difference either way.

You might think that this is all a moot point, given that we’re a couple of weeks on from the initial release of ‘Donda 2’ anyway. Although there’s still some question over whether or not ‘Donda 2’ has actually been released yet. The version put out last month did seem like it was unfinished and was billed as ‘V22.2.22 Miami’. So we may as yet see another version come out.

Anyway, even if West doesn’t score a Billboard chart position with his new album, he’s done alright on other charts already. ‘Donda 2’ immediately went to the top of the global piracy charts upon its release, and a fake version of the album did well on iTunes.