Keith answers questions about Ashanti, Nelly, Chate Moore, Donna Summer, Aretha Franklin, BlackGirl and more!

Ask Billboard is updated every Friday. Submit your burning music questions to Keith Caulfield at askbb@billboard.com. Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S.


ASHANTI AND NELLY, SITTING ON A TREE

Hi Keith,

I have been reading your column for many years now and am now taking a moment to write in with a question of my own and to say thanks for answering the actual questions that are asked of you and digging around when you need to.

Anywho, since they still seem to be a "hot" item, I am curious to find out how Ashanti's "The Declaration" and Nelly's "Brass Knuckles" have done so far. I actually thought "The Declaration" is her best one so far, it's the only one I've actually spent money on. But there hasn't been much buzz, chart wise for the two this year.

Can you tell me how the two albums have done thus far and what is the biggest selling record for each?

Thanks much,
Brandi Roland


Hello Brandi,

Thank you for the kind compliments! Keep those questions coming!

Ashanti and Nelly have been rather lukewarm, sales wise, this year. The former's "Declaration" has sold only 246,000 in the U.S. since its release in June according to Nielsen SoundScan. However, it did spawn a No. 2 hit on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart with "The Way That I Love You." As for Nelly's "Brass Knuckles," it too hasn't done so hot. It has only sold 152,000 since it bowed back in September.

Nelly's biggest selling album is "Country Grammar," which has sold 8.4 million in the U.S. Ashanti's best-seller is her self-titled debut, which has moved 3.6 million.



'MOORE' SUMMER, NOT 'CHRISTMAS'

Keith,

I'm a long time reader looking for some info on sales of some of my favorites. How well has Chante Moore's new album "Love The Woman" sold? While you are looking can you get sales numbers on Donna Summer's "Crayons"
and Shirley Bassey's "Get The Party Started?"

I'm a fan just hoping that the sales have been good enough for all three of these ladies that we will get more material from them. Whether or not these albums were "hits," I loved them and play them regularly.

Also, Aretha Franklin just released "This Christmas" exclusively through Borders and I was wondering if you had any news on how and where this album will be available in Canada?

Thanks for taking the time and wishing you a Happy Halloween.

Cheers,

Kevin McCoy

Hello Kevin,

Chante Moore's "Love the Woman" has sold 25,000 in the U.S. according to Nielsen SoundScan. Donna Summer's "Crayons" has done better, moving 69,000.

Shirley Bassey's covers collection of contemporary tunes, "Get The Party Started," has sold 10,000. Now, that may not sound like a lot for an album, but for Bassey, it's pretty respectable. It's her best-selling album since the 2001 Capitol release "Greatest Hits," which has sold 44,000.

As for Aretha Frankin's "This Christmas," it doesn't seem like any information has been announced regarding how the album will be sold in Canada. So far, it is only sold through Borders and Waldenbooks stores in the U.S.



GIRLS, GIRLS, GIRLS

Hi Keith,

I have two questions I hope you can answer.

First, my good friend Pam was part of the '90s R&B group BlackGirl who only released one album, "Treat U Right." We are all curious to know how many copies this album and its singles have sold since 1994.

I am also a huge fan of Amazon.com's MP3 service. But I am more a fan of their deal of the day service which allows you to buy a full-length album for 99 cents to 3.99!

Over the last few weeks I have bought albums by Fergie, the Pussycat Dolls, Mariah Carey, Prince and Aerosmith all for $1.99. I am curious to know, have the sales helped albums on move up the Billboard charts through Amazon MP3?

Thanks,
Melissa Lopez


Hello Melissa,

As you probably well already know, BlackGirl had four hit singles on our Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, including the No. 13 charting "90s Girls." The group's other three hits all reached the top 40: "Krazy" (No. 37), "Where Did We Go Wrong" (No. 39) and "Let's Do It Again" (No. 25).

The act's lone album, "Treat U Right," peaked at No. 46 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and has sold 100,000 copies according to Nielsen SoundScan. The set is seemingly out of print and isn't available digitally, either.

It also looks like the act released five commercially available physical singles (you know, CD singles or cassette singles). The biggest seller of the bunch is, no surprise, "90s Girl," which has sold 139,000. Here is what the others have sold: "Give Love on Christmas Day" (2,000), "Krazy" (34,000), "Let's Do It Again" (100,000) and "Where Did We Go Wrong" (71,000).

And, about the Amazon MP3 store deals? Yes, they certainly cause spikes on our charts. This week, Aerosmith's "Big Ones" re-entered our Top Pop Catalog Albums chart at No. 29 while it debuted on our Top Digital Albums chart at No. 13. The set sold 4,000 last week, but had a gain of just over 3,000.

And, of its gain, nearly 99% of it was made up entirely of digital downloads. So, yes, that Amazon deal really moved the needle for Aerosmith.