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Billboard Tweaks Charts

CHART TWEAKS: Billboard, the industry bible, is drawing the line. After Lady Gaga’s Amazon.com 99-cent sale of Lady Gaga’s Born This Way resulted in 1.1 million sales for its opening SoundScan week, they have set a pricing floor of $3.49 for full-length albums and 39 cents for tracks in order for sales figures to qualify for inclusion on their chart. Industry insiders see it as a capitulation to market-dominant iTunes so that Amazon and now Google can’t increase marketshare at Apple’s expense in order to grow their respective businesses. Will those two online retailers (and others) now consider this restraint of trade, according to the Sherman Antitrust Act to limit monopolies? The change goes into effect Nov. 21, just in front of Black Friday sales. The policy also applies to albums or EPs with eight or fewer tracks, if the retail price is less than the sum of the tracks multiplied by 39 cents. (11/21p)

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