Ask Billboard: Britney Spears' Career Sales

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.


BRITNEY SPEARS' CAREER SALES

Hi Gary,

I've been trying to find up-to-date sales figures for Britney Spears' albums and digital and physical singles and you're the only source I could find that might be able to help.

Could you please provide those totals?

Thanks!

Daniel Moreno
Tulsa, Oklahoma


Hi Daniel,

Billboard.com has been Spears Central this week, following the scorching radio debut of "Hold It Against Me." As previously reported, the song is expected to exceed 400,000 in first-week download sales, as well, according to industry sources, and blast in atop next week's Billboard Hot 100.

Britney - Hold It Against Me (SAMPLE) by DJ Teapot

Poll: What Do You Think of Britney's "Hold It Against Me"?


In the meantime, here is a look at Spears' U.S. album sales to-date, according to Nielsen SoundScan:

Sales, Title, Release Year
10,555,000, "...Baby One More Time," 1999
9,199,000, "Oops!...I Did It Again," 2000
4,342,000, "Britney," 2001
2,991,000, "In the Zone," 2003
1,667,000, "Circus," 2008
1,395,000, "Greatest Hits: My Prerogative," 2004
991,000, "Blackout," 2007
172,000, "The Singles Collection," 2009
105,000, "B in the Mix: the Remixes," 2005

With 31.6 million albums sold, Spears ranks as the 16th-best-selling album artist since SoundScan began tracking sales in 1991.

In that span, Spears places fourth among women, trailing only Mariah Carey (53.2 million), Celine Dion (51.1 million) and Shania Twain (34 million).

Spears has sold 2.9 physical singles and 21 million digital tracks.

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.


11 11s FOR '11

Hi Gary,

I'm enjoying this month's Chart Beat feature on memorable No. 11 hits.

After you highlighted No. 11-peaking country songs this week, I'd like to add an honorable mention.

Juice Newton's "Break It to Me Gently" won the 1982 Grammy Award for best country female vocal performance but it peaked at No. 11 on the Hot 100 ... and No. 2 on Country Songs. Ouch! At least it reached No. 1 on the Adult Contemporary chart.

Keep up the good work!

Mark Reilley
Washington, D.C.


Hi Mark,

Glad you're liking the series. Tuesday (Jan. 18), we'll spotlight 11 No. 11 hits on Billboard rock charts, followed the next week by 11 songs that stopped just outside the top 10 on the Hot 100.

Having celebrated 11 No. 11-peaking titles on R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and Country Songs so far, here are three extra classics from each format that didn't quite make the cut:


R&B/Hip-Hop Songs

"U Got the Look," Prince, 1987
The song's top 10 exclusion hasn't diminished its lasting appeal: it's made its way into the setlist of Prince's current "Welcome 2 America" tour.

"Just for Tonight," Vanessa Williams, 1992
The singer/actress/model missed a seventh straight top 10 to begin her chart career by one spot, a run that included the No. 1s "Dreamin' " (1989) and "Save the Best for Last" (1992). Still, she returned to the top 10 with her next effort, the No. 3 "Work to Do."

"Someone to Call My Lover," Janet Jackson, 2001
The song, which samples America's 1972 hit "Ventura Highway," halted a stretch in which 28 of 29 Jackson chart entries reached the top 10. (She has since dotted the top 10 with the No. 1 Nelly duet "Call on Me" in 2006). On the Hot 100, "Someone to Call My Lover" rose to No. 3.

Country Songs

"What Kind of Love," Rodney Crowell, 1992
Crowell wrote the last of his 12 top 40 hits on Country Songs with Will Jennings and the late Roy Orbison. This melodic gem did reach the top 10, however, on Adult Contemporary (No. 9).

"Baby Likes to Rock It," the Tractors, 1994
The country rockers helped popularize the line-dancing craze of the '90s with their biggest hit, which sleighed audiences again as "Santa Claus Is Comin' (In a Boogie Woogie Choo Choo Train)" the following holiday season.

"The Seashores of Old Mexico," George Strait, 2004
Strait's 83 Country Songs top 10s are second only to Eddy Arnold's record 92, and both icons twice peaked at No. 11. Strait stopped just short of the top tier with this song, as he had a year earlier with "Tell Me Something Bad About Tulsa."

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.


YULE BE INTERESTED TO KNOW ...

Hi Gary,

A hefty number of holiday albums were released over the past festive season. I'm curious as to which such set has sold the most.

Can you please list the best-selling new seasonal releases from the just-wrapped holiday season?

Thanks,

Karen Gonzales
Angeles City, Philippines


Hi Karen,

With more than two feet of snow having fallen here in New York City since Dec. 26, it feels like the holiday season certainly didn't end on Christmas Day.

(Be very thankful that the forecast calls for temperatures in the upper 80s where you are).

How fitting, then, to recap the top-selling holiday albums released over the past few months. Here are the 10 top seasonal sets released in 2010, according to SoundScan:

Sales to date, Title, Artist
1,857,000, "The Gift," Susan Boyle
1,013,000, "O Holy Night" (EP), Jackie Evancho

918,000, "Glee: the Music, the Christmas Album," "Glee" cast
432,000, "Merry Christmas II You," Mariah Carey
279,000, "A Merry Little Christmas" (EP), Lady Antebellum
240,000, " NOW That's What I Call Christmas! 4," various artists
179,000, "Christmas Cornucopia," Annie Lennox
136,000, " Joy to the World," Pink Martini
108,000, " Sleigh Ride: Side By Side," various artists
90,000, "Christmas," Celtic Thunder

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.


5-4-1

Dear Gary,

This week, there is again a significant phenomenon on the Hot 100. As Bruno Mars' "Grenade" reclaims No. 1 from Katy Perry's "Firework," all the titles in this week's top five are current or former No. 1s.

(Rihanna's "What's My Name?," featuring Drake, Ke$ha's "We R Who We R" and P!nk's "Raise Your Glass" place at Nos. 3-5, respectively).

Prior to the past three weeks, the last time five current or former leaders locked up the top five was the week of July 19, 2008. Two of this week's top five artists, Perry and Rihanna, occupied that top five, as well:

No. 1, "I Kissed a Girl," Katy Perry
No. 2, "Take a Bow," Rihanna
No. 3, "Lollipop," Lil Wayne featuring Static Major
No. 4, "Bleeding Love," Leona Lewis
No. 5, "Viva La Vida," Coldplay

Thanks,

Jeff Lerner
Long Island, New York


Thanks Jeff, as several readers have written in asking when this coincidence had last occurred.

The streak may be broken next week. While Britney Spears' "Hold It Against Me" is expected to launch at No. 1, new tracks by Kanye West and Jay-Z ("H*A*M") and Avril Lavigne ("What the Hell") each have a chance to storm the top five if their digital sales are strong enough.

As of this posting, the songs rank at Nos. 1, 2 and 3 (to paraphrase Spears' last No. 1) in the iTunes Store.