Billboard announced this morning that they are revising their chart methodology so that older albums can appear on the Top 200 album chart. Previously, albums were removed from the chart after 2 years (which was changed to 78 weeks fairly recently).

This will result in some significant changes to the make up of the album chart. Particularly when it comes to albums that are perennials, like Bob Marley’s “Legend”, or to use a more recent example, Guns ‘n Roses’ “Greatest Hits”. It’s hard not to imagine that this change was spurred on by recent sales by Michael Jackson and The Beatles. There was an uproar last year when MJ’s 25th anniversary “Thriller” wasn’t allowed to chart even though it would have debuted at #2. After Jackson’s death in June, several of his albums spiked in sales, led by “Number Ones”, which would have placed at #1 for a couple of weeks had it not been for the chart rule. More recently, a bunch of Beatles reissues were prevented from charting, even though several would have placed in the Top Twenty.

This rule will hurt some new artists, who would get a boost just for the simple fact that their album charted. It will also limit the amount of turnover on the chart, as I guarantee you will see some titles on that list for years at a time. But I think that if you’re going to publish a chart featuring the top selling albums in the country, it should actually be a chart of the top selling albums in the country, release date be damned.

What do y’all think?