Ask Billboard: Sisters Are Doin' It for Themselves
Ask Billboard: Sisters Are Doin' It for Themselves

Ask Billboard is updated every Friday. As always, submit your questions about Billboard charts, sales and airplay, as well as general music musings, to askbb@billboard.com. Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S.

CLASSICS ROCK

Hello Gary,

I've been noticing a trend the past few weeks on the Billboard 200 that has piqued my curiosity: many classic rock acts from the '70s and '80s are charting with greatest hits packages, some released years ago.

Pat Benatar's "10 Great Songs," for instance, ranks at No. 140 a week after it debuted at No. 123. I've also seen such classic rock albums on the chart as Rush's "Moving Pictures" and greatest hits sets by Bob Seger, Three Dog Night and REO Speedwagon in recent weeks.

Can you explain this head-scratching trend?

Thank you!

Ken Tasho
Providence, Rhode Island

Hi Ken,

I posed your question to Billboard 200 chart manager and associate director of charts/retail Keith Caulfield, who cites an influx of budget-priced (i.e., $5) albums being promoted at Walmart and other "big box" retailers.

Caulfield also cites lower album sales paving an easier chart path for such releases. Titles can now reach the lower ranks of the Billboard 200 with weekly sales of approximately 3,000, according to Nielsen SoundScan. That's down from about 6,000 a decade ago, so steady catalog sellers tend to make more occasional visits to the chart.

In an e-mail, Chart Beat reader Brian Quinn likewise found it surprising that Elvis Presley's "An Afternoon in the Garden" rose to No. 85 on the Billboard 200 last week, some 14 years after it was first released.

Caulfield similarly cites sale pricing at Walmart for spurring the album's current chart fortunes.