Ask Billboard: From 'S&M' To Disney Acts

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LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 25: Actress Miley Cyrus arrives at the afterparty for the premiere of Touchstone Pictures' "The Last Song" at The W Hotel on March 25, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Miley Cyrus

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.


RIH-GARDING RIH-MIXES


Hi Gary,

I love Chart Beat and look forward to reading the charts every week.

Recently, I've noticed a few tracks that have perhaps logged higher chart positions in part because of the availability of multiple versions.

Cee Lo Green's "F**k You (Forget You)" benefited from having both the original and censored version on iTunes. Katy Perry's "E.T." also notably sports the original version and remix featuring Kanye West.

Now we have the remix of Rihanna's "S&M" featuring Britney Spears, with both that version and the original currently in the iTunes top 10.

In terms of Billboard chart purposes, is it unfair for some songs to have two versions available? There is twice as much for consumers to buy. Would Billboard consider changing the Billboard Hot 100 rules to allow different versions to chart separately, making it more equal for songs with only one version?

Thanks for the great column,

Hugh Peacock
Perth, Australia


Hi Hugh,

Thanks.

In addition to the titles you mention, P!nk has also released a clean edit of "F**kin' Perfect, as did Enrique Iglesias with "Tonight (I'm Lovin' You)."

I posed your question to Billboard director of charts Silvio Pietroluongo, who reinforced the intention of the Hot 100 as a songs chart as opposed to an individual tracks survey.

"So many songs are offered in multiple versions: edited, explicit, album, etc. We take great care in making sure that the songs we merge are similar musically and/or lyrically.

"The Hot 100 should measure a song's full impact based on all its iterations."

Billboard, does however, compile a chart that breaks out individual track sales: Digital Tracks, which is viewable to subscribers at billboard.biz.

Whereas Digital Songs ranks titles by all versions combined, Digital Tracks rank each song's separate versions, making often for multiple listings of the same composition on the survey simultaneously.

Thus, when it comes to edits and remixes, Digital Tracks affords us a clear picture of which versions of the same song are the most popular.

On this week's Digital Tracks, the version of "E.T." featuring West ranks at No. 1 (with sales of 247,000, according to Nielsen SoundScan), while the Perry-only version places at No. 21 (62,000). The West edit accounts for 77% of the song's overall sales (with other versions - "Benny Benassi Radio Edit," "Noisia Remix," "Dave Aude Remix" - also registering totals).

Additionally, Green's PG-rated edit "Forget You" is at No. 18 (67,000), with the original "F**k You!" at No. 42 (41,000). The rankings echo consumers' tastes throughout the song's history: release-to-date, the song's clean edit has outsold the original explicit version, 2.4 million to 1.5 million.

The next prominent example of how a remix performs against an original album version will take center stage on next week's charts, when we'll see the impact of the Spears-assisted "Rih-mix" of Rihanna's "S&M" following the new version's first full week of retail availability.


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.


'TEENAGE' LOVE AFFAIR

Hi Gary,

With Katy Perry's "E.T." atop the Hot 100 for a third week, I got to thinking about the song's parent album, "Teenage Dream."

Now that it has produced four Hot 100 No. 1s, how is the album faring? Has it outsold Perry's first album, "One of the Boys"? How would you describe the sales of the album in general terms, given the current market?

(I realize, too, that the remix of "E.T." featuring Kanye West is not available on "Teenage Dream." Based on iTunes rankings, however, it seems that the album version is also selling well and I assume that it's convincing at least a few music fans to buy the entire record).

Thanks for your thoughts!

Best,

Mark Blankenship
New York, New York


Hi Mark,

On multiple levels, "Teenage Dream" has racked an impressive resume since its debut atop the Billboard 200 the week of Sept. 11, 2010.

In addition to becoming just the ninth album in the Hot 100's 52-year history to generate four No. 1s, the set has spent all 33 of its chart weeks in the Billboard 200's top 40. It not only ranks at No. 14 on this week's chart, but, with sales of 354,000 since January, it's also the 14th-best-selling set so far this year.

"Dream" hasn't outsold "Boys" yet, but it's a close race:

Album, Sales to-date
"One of the Boys," 1,374,000
"Teenage Dream," 1,350,000


The gap between the two sets' total sales? 24,000. With "Dream" having sold 22,000 this week and "Boys," 2,000, "Dream" appears on the edge of passing "Boys" in total sales. That "Boys" has been out since June 2008 - giving the album a two-year head start over "Dream" - emphasizes how strongly Perry has followed up her breakthrough effort.

Not only has Perry collected a quartet of Hot 100 toppers, but "Teenage Dream" has also generated five No. 1s on Dance/Club Play Songs. In addition to the Hot 100 No. 1s "California Gurls," featuring Snoop Dogg, "Teenage Dream," "Firework" and "E.T.," the cheeky "Peacock" led the Dec. 4, 2010, chart.

With five leaders from one set, Perry joins the elite company of Beyonce (six Dance/Club Play Songs No. 1s from "I Am...Sasha Fierce," 2009-10), Nelly Furtado (five from "Loose," 2006-07) and Madonna (five from "American Life," 2002-04).

And, with potential singles such as the uptempo "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)" and ballad "Not Like the Movies," "Dream" might yet produce further hits.

In all, after "Boys" introduced Perry, "Dream" has clearly solidified her standing among pop culture's major players. Her marriage to Russell Brand and quirky, unique fashion sense have additionally aided her profile; she's ranked in the top 10 each week of the new Social 50 chart's 20-week existence.

(My favorite example of Perry's talents? The clever name she gave her cat: Kitty Purry, a feline who even has her own Facebook page ...)


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.


DISNEY'S WORLD


Dear Gary,

First, I love Chart Beat!

Secondly, I was wondering if you could please provide the total album sales for the biggest artists discovered and nurtured by Disney in recent years, i.e., Miley Cyrus, the Jonas Brothers, Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato.

I'd love to see if Disney still has the ability to create superstar pop artists as they did previously with Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and Justin Timberlake.

Sincerely,

Teresa Gonzalez
Spain


Hi Teresa,

Thanks!

Here is a look at the total U.S. album sales of the acts you cite, according to SoundScan:

4,414,000, Jonas Brothers

3,333,000, Miley Cyrus (not including "Hannah Montana"-branded albums)

1,354,000, Selena Gomez (& the Scene)

968,000, Demi Lovato

(There's also Hilary Duff (8.3 million), Vanessa Hudgens (719,000), Ashley Tisdale (566,000), the latter two singers of "High School Musical" fame).

An area where the acts above have faced some resistance is pop radio, which traditionally takes a conservative approach to youthful TV-born artists, fearing that such acts' core fans are significantly younger than the format's target audience.

Of the four acts you note, only Cyrus has reached the Pop Songs radio airplay chart's top 10 (with three titles, including the 2009 No. 1 "Party in the U.S.A.")

Still, Gomez is off to a nice start with "Who Says," which bows on Pop Songs at No. 37 this week.

How do the new generation of Disney acts compare against their predecessors? In addition to notching 12 Pop Songs top 10s, Spears has totaled the 16th-highest U.S. album sales sum - 32 million - among all artists dating to SoundScan's 1991 inception.

Christina Aguilera (11 Pop Songs top 10s) has sold 16.5 million albums in her career and Justin Timberlake (13 solo Pop Songs top 10s, in addition to nine with 'N Sync), 8.1 million.


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.


'IDOL' THOUGHTS


Following last week's shocking departure of Pia Toscano and last night's ejection of Paul McDonald, the predicted elimination order offered here after the unveiling of this season's top 13 "American Idol" contestants continues to go off course after a promising start:

As predicted:
13, Ashthon Jones
12, Karen Rodriguez
11, Naima Adedapo
10, Stefano Langone
9, Jacob Lusk
8, Scotty McCreery
7, Haley Reinhart
6, Thia Megia
5, Paul McDonald
4, Pia Toscano
3, James Durbin
2, Casey Abrams
And ... 1, Lauren Alaina

Actual order so far:
13, Ashthon Jones (correct)
12, Karen Rodriguez (correct)
Tied 11, Naima Adedapo (correct)
Tied 11, Thia Megia
9, Pia Toscano
8, Paul McDonald

(Since that original prediction, it's also unlikely that Scotty McCreery will come anywhere close to finishing in the lower end of the top seven).

In the wake of widespread outrage following Toscano's elimination, how about a nod to McDonald for his run on "Idol"? His career prospects appear encouraging, especially considering that his former band, the Grand Magnolias, already reached No. 16 on Heatseekers Albums with its self-titled set (featuring his vocals) last month.

Wednesday's (April 13) "Idol" performances featured songs released after 1988 for the first time in three weeks, including Lauren Alaina's cover of Miley Cyrus' "The Climb," a No. 4 Hot 100 hit in 2009. Next week will bring renditions of songs exclusively from 2000 on, as series executives have confirmed that next Wednesday's episode will spotlight songs from the 21st century.

On the following night's results episode, Katy Perry will take the stage to perform "E.T." and 2008 "Idol" champ David Cook will premiere a new song, "The Last Goodbye."


As always, follow Billboard.com's complete coverage of the 10th season of "American Idol" and please feel free to share your opinions in the comments section below or by e-mailing askbb@billboard.com.