In an effort to better represent chart placements on both iTunes and Apple Music, the music store and streaming service have recently made some changes to their chart rules. With these come changes to best practices when it comes to pre-orders, instant grat tracks and the delivery of standalone singles. Read up to make sure you give your releases the best chance of charting, and charting high.
First, as of the end of December 2015, pre-orders are no longer being taken into consideration for iTunes album charts during the pre-order period. Instead, pre-order numbers will count towards an album’s chart position on the day of release. Now more than ever, you want to be sure you’re driving all traffic to your pre-order to help your chart position the week of release. Your singles and instant grat tracks are an important part of this strategy — be sure to use them to direct to the pre-order and avoid delivering focus tracks as stand-alone singles. Remember, instant grats also go live on Apple Music, so you can be on both services without delivering a stand-alone single.
With that, it’s important to keep in mind that instant grat sales also do count towards the iTunes singles charts, but only if purchased as an individual track off the album. If the instant grat is acquired as part of the album pre-order, it counts as an album pre-order and the single will not count towards the singles chart.
Last, iTunes and Apple Music charts are and will remain separate. iTunes charts represent only sales on iTunes, and Apple Music charts comprise only streams on Apple Music. If you have any questions on chart workings or best practices, please reach out to your client manager.