5 Seconds of Summer’s fourth studio album robbed of No. 1 due to ‘clerical error’

Here’s why 5SOS stans are protesting against Billboard.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The band members have each thanked the fans for their continued support, and Ashton even posted a video with his thoughts.

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.

1 Comment
  1. LTT says

    I’m never one to leave comments on articles, but a year later, I just had to for this one. I always refer back to this article when telling people about what happened with 5SOS’ album release – it informs people on exactly what happened and follows the trails of all the effort fans made online to try to save the charting week. I wish this was more widely talked about so that all artists, old and new, would learn about the injustices and be aware of what big companies could do to them so this never happens again. In the mean time, I’ll keep referring people to this article to show them what went down. Thank you for writing an article that sums this situation up so well!

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