Top 200 Chart Changes Rule to Allow for Jackson, Beatles

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The Billboard Top 200 is about to open its doors to older releases after finally eliminating a rule that prevented the discographies of Michael Jackson and the Beatles from being counted toward the week's top-selling albums chart, Reuters writes. For the past 18 years, the chart generally only reflected the sales of newer albums, but starting with the week ending November 22, older releases will be recognized.

This year's biggest music events — Michael Jackson's death and the reissue of the Beatles catalog — inspired the change to include "the true best-sellers in the country," said chart director Silvio Pietroluongo. Essentially, the Top 200 will now reflect the Nielsen SoundScan sales figures from the Top Comprehensive Albums Chart.

If last week's Top 200 had reflected this change, Michael Jackson's Number Ones would have placed at Number 13 and a handful of Jackson and Jackson 5-related releases would have also charted. With less than two months remaining in 2009, Michael Jackson's Number Ones remains on pace to be the year's second-best-selling album, behind Taylor Swift's Fearless.

Forty years after its release in 1969, the Beatles' Abbey Road, which was digitally remastered along with the rest of the Fab Four's catalog, would have entered the Billboard Top 200 at Number Three following its September 9th release had it been eligible for that chart. This new ruling is also expected to bring an influx of perennially successful greatest hits compilations back onto the Top 200.

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