Ask Billboard is updated every Friday. Submit your burning music questions to Gary Trust at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S.
My question is concerning Mariah Carey. How many times has "We Belong Together" been played in the United States?
According to Nielsen Broadcast Data Systems (BDS), which electronically monitors radio stations in more than 140 U.S. markets and provides the data that powers Billboard's radio airplay charts, "We Belong Together" has been played 743,758 times through Wednesday (March 24).
I asked BDS Director of Data Services Adam Foster how that sum stacks up against other hit songs released five years ago.
Here is what Adam found:
"We Belong Together" began a 10-week run at No. 1 on the Pop Songs chart for the week of July 2, 2005. Here are the to-date detection totals at BDS-monitored U.S. terrestrial radio stations for Carey's smash and the other songs that were in the top 10 (in order) that week:
All-Format To-Date Plays, Artist, Title
743,758, Mariah Carey, "We Belong Together"
399,636, Gwen Stefani, "Hollaback Girl"
513,149, Kelly Clarkson, "Behind These Hazel Eyes"
226,340, the Black Eyed Peas, "Don't Phunk With My Heart"
160,319, Will Smith, "Switch"
279,099, Ciara featuring Ludacris, "Oh"
374,941, 3 Doors Down, "Let Me Go"
358,332, Papa Roach, "Scars"
244,448, 50 Cent, "Just a Lil Bit"
356,973, the Pussycat Dolls featuring Busta Rhymes, "Don't Cha"
The total for "We Belong Together" is more 200,000 plays higher than its closest title ("Behind These Hazel Eyes") and twice the to-date average of the rest of that week's top 10 (323,693).
Not surprisingly, and even though it wasn't released until halfway through the decade, "We Belong Together" earned the honor of top title of the 2000s on the Billboard Hot 100 (a feat Carey proudly touted to the audience when I saw her in concert in January).
Carey's remix/duets album, "Angels Advocate," was due to be released Tuesday (March 30), but it is now not currently on Universal Music Group's schedule.
The month should still wrap with a celebration, however: Carey turns 40 years young tomorrow (March 27).
GOSPEL ACCORDING TO SOUNDSCAN
I appreciate all the good chart information you've been providing.
Marvin Sapp debuts this week on the Billboard 200 with 76,000 units sold for "Here I Am." Could you please list the top 10 weekly sales marks for gospel albums all-time in the Nielsen SoundScan era?
Joseph L. Brown
As previously reported, Sapp makes history this week, as his set becomes the highest-charting gospel album (No. 2) in the history of the Billboard 200.
It's not, however, the highest sales total for a gospel album ever. That honor belongs to "The Preacher's Wife," the soundtrack which sold 330,000 for the chart week of Jan. 4, 1997.
Still, "Here I Am" logs the highest weekly sales for a gospel set since Ruben Studdard's "I Need an Angel" shifted 96,000 on the Dec. 11, 2004, list.
Since "The Preacher's Wife" owns the top five weekly sales totals among gospel releases since Gospel Albums converted to Nielsen SoundScan data this week in 1995, for a wider scope of albums and artists, let's look at the 10 gospel sets with the highest sums, represented by each album's best week:
Peak Sales Week, Title, Artist, Date
330,000, "The Preacher's Wife," soundtrack, Jan. 4, 1997
119,000, "God's Property," God's Property from Kirk Franklin's Nu Nation, June 14, 1997
105,000, "The Nu Nation Project," Kirk Franklin, Oct. 17, 1998
96,000, "I Need an Angel," Ruben Studdard, Dec. 11, 2004
91,000, "The Rebirth of Kirk Franklin," Kirk Franklin, March 9, 2002
76,000, "The Prince of Egypt-Inspirational," soundtrack, Jan. 9, 1999
76,000, "Here I Am," Marvin Sapp, April 3, 2010
74,000, "The Fight of My Life," Kirk Franklin, Jan. 5, 2008
67,000, "Believe," Yolanda Adams, Jan. 5, 2002
66,000, "Hero," Kirk Franklin, Oct. 22, 2005
Not only does Kirk Franklin populate half the list above, but his seven No. 1s since March 1995 are also the most among all artists on Gospel Albums in that span.