5 Seconds of Summer’s fourth studio album CALM was just released on the 27th of March, and fans absolutely adore it.
Fans were enjoying sharing the album on Twitter and Instagram when word spread that CALM had prematurely begun charting on the Billboard 200 Chart. A few hours later, the celebration of the album came to a halt when the band posted a message on their social media account: “…we found out a few days ago that due to a shipping error, around 10,000 copies of our album were sent out early in the US. Those albums will now appear in this week’s Billboard chart, a week before our album was due to chart…” This message came just three days after the official release of the album.
Many were heartbroken reading this, as 5SOS are the only band to have all their albums debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, and this would ruin their streak. The clerical error was due to Ticketmaster sending out over 10,000 copies of the album to fans who had purchased tour tickets, before the album had actually been released.
The 10,000 CDs were subsequently added to the Billboard Hot 200, causing the album to debut on the charts early at No. 62.
Fans were upset, naturally, but they persisted, determined to land the band their fourth No. 1 album. The competition was fierce — many other albums came out the same day — but the fans powered through. They were able to land a No. 1 in both the U.K. and Australia, which was a massive win.
Finally, the day came when Billboard released their charts. To fans’ surprise, CALM charted at No. 2 with less than a 3,000-unit difference between No. 1.
— 5 Seconds of Summer (@5SOS) March 30, 2020
If Billboard had counted the 10,000 units Ticketmaster sent out — that the band so rightfully earned — they would’ve been No. 1 with over a 7,000-unit advantage. Fans began speaking out, proving that many mainstream artists such as Ariana Grande and Harry Styles’ albums were sent out early as well and their charting hadn’t been affected.
They began trending the hashtags #BillboardAddThe10k, #BillboardSpeakUp, BillboardCountThe10k, #BillboardDoTheRightThing, and many more. A fan even created a petition to fix the charting which had over 30,000 signatures at the time of publication.
10k sales counted to the tracking week BEFORE the album was out.
The gap between #1 & #2 is 2.5k
Surely you can reverse the early charting & do the right thing, as 5SOS’ peers have had their albums ship early and haven’t charted the week BEFORE they were supposed to @billboard.
— 5SOS UPDATES! (@Tha5SOSFamily) April 5, 2020
— 5SOS UPDATES! (@Tha5SOSFamily) April 6, 2020
After some research, many fans tweeted their opinion that they believe Billboard has historically showed a bias towards artists who work with Republic Records. One of Ariana Grande’s albums had been sent out early, they said, and yet the charting of her record was not affected. Ariana worked with Republic, which was named Billboard’s Label Of The Year four times in the last five years. The No. 1 album (The Weeknd’s After Hours) that beat out CALM was released by Republic.
. @billboard when ariana grande and harry styles’ albums were put on shelves/sent out early, those sales counted toward their debut week despite being sold a week early. how is it plausible to say that 5sos debuted last week when it is the same situation? #billboardincludethe10k pic.twitter.com/mGDTLANWpD
— cait (@LOVERSMlNE) April 5, 2020
i still find it funny how billboard can blame all of this on a “policy” that appears like it doesn’t even exist because other artists have been put in this same situation and were never affected chart wise. sounds a bit hypocritical to me #AddThe10kBillboard #billboardspeakup
— liz (@ofmehighs) April 8, 2020
Many were furious that Billboard hadn’t included the 10,000 not only because of 5SOS but because of how unjust this was to any artist. Fans are fighting for all artists who this unfair act could affect in the future. Both fans and 5SOS would’ve been extremely proud to have reached No. 2, but they RIGHTFULLY reached the No. 1 spot, if it weren’t for this “clerical error.” Fans are fighting towards fair and just treatment in the industry for all artists.
This is bigger than being #1.
This is bigger than 5SOS.
This is bigger than us.
This situation is a fight for any artist who has been screwed over by the industry, whether it was a “mistake” or sabotage.
Fight for art, fight for what you love and let’s change things!
— 5SOS UPDATES! (@Tha5SOSFamily) April 5, 2020
this is not only an injustice to 5sos, but to artists everywhere. it’s a testament to billboards authenticity &further recognizes their professionalism. this will go down as one of the largest infringements of a deserving and qualified band. #BillboardSpeakOut #AddThe10kBillboard
— kitt (@LOVERMlNE) April 8, 2020
reminder that we aren’t just doing this for 5sos and that we are doing this for any artist that has been fucked over by the industry! let’s all work together to get this recognition! #billboardspeakup #addthe10kbillboard
— mads (@diorsafi) April 7, 2020
billboard is really being exposed for not being about the true artistry of music but about the money. give 5sos their 10k sales, respect and treat all artists fairly. #billboardspeakup #BillboardAddThe10k pic.twitter.com/H52USIo5IK
— kaidra (@calmvinyl) April 7, 2020
Soon, fans began tweeting out to radio stations and magazines to help speak out and fight against this unjust treatment. The hashtags gained traction, and magazines such as Rolling Stone and radio stations like SiriusXM Hits 1 covered the topic. Many radio hosts and journalists such as Erik Zachary, JoJo Wright, Zach Sang, and Nicholas Liddle began fighting for 5SOS as well. The band’s photographer and creative director Andy DeLuca, as well as Michael’s fiance, Crystal Leigh, publically expressed their thoughts about the issue. Fanbases such as the Monebebes (Monsta X) joined forces to help get Billboard to address the situation as well.
we’ve gotten the attention of radio presenters, people in the music industry, multiple articles have been made as well, they’re speaking up and siding with us. but now we’d like to hear from billboard #BillboardAddThe10k #billboardspeakup
— billie (@xannyafi) April 7, 2020
I’ll admit, I thought @5SOS fans were over-reacting to album results… I’ve since realized evidence proves otherwise.@billboard, as a music authority, you need to acknowledge this & if you’re standing by the chart, provide proper reasoning as to why. Now. #billboardcounthe10k
— erik zachary (@ErikZ) April 6, 2020
honestly, #BillboardAddThe10k and then come on my show and let’s discuss! Communication is key but don’t let hard work actual music and real sales go unnoticed : )
— Zach Sang (@zachsang1) April 6, 2020
5SOS fans, KEEP FIGHTING! They don’t want you to fight. They want you to be quiet. SPEAK LOUDER!!! Fans are always silenced YET the FANS are why they are successful. SPEAK LOUDER. STAY LOUD. What has happened isn’t okay. Make your voice heard. #BillboardCountThe10K
— Nicholas Liddle (@NLiddle16) April 5, 2020
Everyone @ Billboard and request that they re-consider adding the faulty 10k sales to 5SOS’ numbers! This is for the sake of musical history!!!! @billboard plz
— Andy DeLuca (@shmandeluca) April 5, 2020
— Crystal Leigh (@crystalleigh) April 5, 2020
If you would like, 5SOSFam needs our help again.
Billboard refuses to acknowledge the clinical error that Ticketmaster did. Let Billboard know we won’t stand for it!
— Monsta X Promo Team (@mxpromoteam) April 6, 2020
Some fans believe that this has something to do with one of 5SOS’s singles, ‘No Shame’, which circles around the idea of how the media portrays artists — the good, the bad, and the ugly.
5sos are being sabotaged, this has happened to other artists in the past yet billboard still counted the sales, their fans didn’t even need to cause an up roar about it, this is mainstream media at it’s fucking finest, all i’m saying is no shame spoke nothing but truth
— (@angeluvcth) April 5, 2020
how can @billboard just ignore headlines like this? They’ll let it slide and kiss ass for other artists, but once it happens to 5sos they don’t do shit. this is why no shame was created; to call out the twisted and corrupt side of the music industry. #billboardincludethe10k pic.twitter.com/hpv8JzAdvK
— bailey (@bestyearsbailey) April 5, 2020
The band members have each thanked the fans for their continued support, and Ashton even posted a video with his thoughts.
Life is abundant! Counting my blessings Got to make an album with my best friends and have people who I adore, to share it with. Couldn’t ask for more. I love you guys with my head and my heart.
— Calum Hood (@Calum5SOS) April 5, 2020
I’m apprehensive to share this video, I think I’ve censored myself fairly well, I feel fearful to speak up about the albums that went out early for fear or loosing partnership with media outlets… but here’s some thought’s… pic.twitter.com/yWHfpZtIT9
— Ashton Irwin (@Ashton5SOS) April 7, 2020
Today I’m extremely grateful for a lot of things. One of those being an incredibly dedicated fan base. Thank you for your support and love on CALM. A small band from Sydney can compete with today’s biggest and best.
Love you guys. Love my boys in 5sos. Here’s to many more ❤️
— Luke Hemmings (@Luke5SOS) April 5, 2020
— 5SOS UPDATES! (@Tha5SOSFamily) April 5, 2020
he really said that we are not gonna give up guys.
— michael on twitch (@mgcstreams) April 7, 2020
Billboard has yet to respond to anything and continue to post normally. We believe that Billboard should stand up and admit to their error so as not to break the fans’ trust further.
Whatever Billboard chooses to do, we will continue to stand with 5SOS and everyone who has been screwed over. We will keep fighting for a fairer industry for all.