Ronnie Wood, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of Rolling Stones attend Rolling Stones’ ‘Hackney Diamonds’ album launch event on September 6, 2023 in London United Kingdom (Photo by Dave Hogan/Hogan Media/Shutterstock)
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It looks like the Rolling Stones are trying to manipulate the US album charts. Here’s how.

The Rolling Stones may never release another album of new material after Hackney Diamonds so they’re looking for a bigger bang than usual with its release. The band has teamed up with Major League Baseball by releasing a vinyl version of the album. Actually, multiple versions.

Fans can go to to purchase limited editions of the album featuring artwork dedicated to each MLB teams. That means 30 different records. The project, known as Hackney Diamonds X MLB, will be released on October 20.

Well, so what? By juicing fan interest and getting hardcore Stones fans to buy multiple versions of the same album, the record’s chart position will be inflated. And because pre-sales are happening now, all those purchases will be held back until the first week of sales reporting for the album.

Hackney Diamonds has already been available for pre-sale, so presumably sales are already stacking up If a significant number of people purchase all (or even some) the MLB versions over the next three-ish weeks combined with the other six-ish weeks of pre-sales, this could make for a very big first-week number–and mostly likely a #1 debut.

This kind of marketing is, as far as I know, doesn’t break any rules when it comes to compiling the Billboard Top 200 chart. Other artists have had similar record-stuffing schemes. It’s clever, but it does have a big downside.

Pre-sales will only figure into chart position for the first week the album is one sale. If everyone who wants Hackey Diamonds buys it upfront, there will be few people to buy it in weeks, two, three, four, and so on. That means that while it could debut at #1, it will probably fall dozens of positions in its second week.

Still, a #1 debut is something to brag about, so…

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 37884 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

9 thoughts on “It looks like the Rolling Stones are trying to manipulate the US album charts. Here’s how.

  • You may be right, but do you think the stones will beat out blink-182 for #1 spot? Believe they are both releasing on Oct 20th!

  • what’s a blink 182?

    • The Stones are forever 1

  • This reminds me of a meme I collected several years ago. A picture of Keef close up, crags and callouses and thinning gray hair, captioned, “Kanye West? Never heard of her.”

    The Stones have nothing to prove to anyone, ever. I hope the rest of the new album is as good as “Angry” and that it sells like crazy, garnering accolades from every quarter. I also know that none of that stuff is pertinent to The Rolling Stones and their legacy. They seem excited by the newest music, and when you exist on a level enjoyed by fewer people than I have fingers, the achievements and milestones that motivate the rest of us become trivial. Of course they’ll take the dough. They’ll promote the s**t out of this release, but any comparison, direct or implied, with Blink-182 is risible.

    Peace from Los Angeles.

  • The Beatles threw the stones a lifeline in 1964 with, I wanna be your man, originally written by John and Paul, but!, I wish kieth and Mick, the best of Irish Luck 🍀, but diamonds won’t out sparkle Exile on Main Street, yours compassionately, Kevin Joseph Ruddy 🍀🤗

  • Who cares. Ancient dinosaurs need to pack it in. Your glory days were over 30 years ago.

  • I’m a big fan of Alan, but this article is ridiculous. He’s either holding the Stones to a higher standard, creating a double standard, or is genuinely ignorant that this has been going on for years. The Stones aren’t even the first band to work with the MLB like this.

  • Just goes to show, any system can be biased or manipulated. I can’t imagine they’re doing it because they need the money. They could simply sell their catalogue and then re-record it in a different colour for money.
    This is at least a creative, artsy way to include sports fans into your target audience. Picture it: Mick & Keith, decked out in full bells & whistles, seated behind the dugout or in some skybox, cheering on their favourite pitcher… for fan base.
    C’mon! Get you Blue Jays collectible today.

  • Tried to buy the new Stones CD today at Sunrise only to be told that Canadian distribution was held up. Nothing to buy in Canada. Maybe they sent all the CDs to the US to pump up their numbers there?


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