Keith answers readers' questions on Robyn, the singles cycle and low-selling chart toppers.

Ask Billboard is updated every Friday. Submit your burning music questions to Keith Caulfield at askbb@billboard.com.

ROBBED OF ROBYN

Hi Keith,

Over the summer I got wind Robyn's single "With Every Heartbeat" and quickly fell in love with her music and style.

Since then, I haven't been able to get enough of her newest music: "Be Mine," "Handle Me" and others. However, I can't seem to find her album anywhere for purchase.

I had seen a release date for December 2007 but that's come and gone. I also heard word that it was available on iTunes for a while, but it seems to have been taken off. According to Wikipedia, she's signed a distribution deal and it will be released in the U.S. sometime in 2008. Do you know of any word regarding a Robyn release in the U.S. anytime soon?

Thanks,
Ronnie Houchin


Hello Ronnie,

Robyn has pacted with Interscope Records in the U.S. to release forthcoming material. First up is the "Rakamonie" EP, due out Jan. 29. The five song set features the tunes "Konichiwa Bitches," "Cobrastyle" and a cover of Prince's "Jack U Off." It also boasts the acoustic versions of "Be Mine!" and the huge U.K. hit "With Every Heartbeat." The latter topped the Official U.K. Singles Chart last year.

A release date for a full album has yet to be announced.

Those of you old enough may recall Robyn from the late '90s when she had a measure of chart success in the U.S. when she recorded for RCA Records.

Her singles "Do You Know (What It Takes)" and "Show Me Love" both reached No. 7 on The Billboard Hot 100 in 1997.



SINGLED OUT

Keith,

Okay, maybe this is a stupid question, but I really don't understand the process of how songs from a new album become hits.

There seems to be some carefully orchestrated process though because you never hear several songs from a new album played at the same time (on the radio). Take Fergie's album for example. It seems like a long time ago that they were playing "London Bridge" on the radio and now we have finally gotten to "Clumsy."

Who decides which songs and in what order they will be singles?

Hope you can explain this process for me.

Thanks,

Jill Venenga


Hi Jill,

A combination of the artist, label, management and others involved with the promotion of an album determine which songs from an album will be promoted as singles and in what order.

Of course, with consumers able to purchase album tracks digitally and radio free to play any song from an album, there are times when some songs that aren't official singles become successful organically.

An example that immediately leaps to mind is Kelly Clarkson's "Gone." The song was never an official single from "Breakaway," yet it received a good amount of airplay, sold well digitally and actually peaked at No. 77 on the Pop 100 chart.



GREATEST IS THE LEAST

Hi Keith,

I look forward to reading both your column and Fred Bronson's column each week. I noticed that Alicia Keys' "As I Am" is back at No. 1 on The Billboard 200 this week with 70,000 copies sold.

I am wondering, what album has made it to No. 1 with the lowest week's sales figure?

Thanks in advance!

Tony D'Aguanno


Indeed, "As I Am's" sales last week were low, but not the lowest No. 1 has ever seen.

Since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking data in 1991, the dubious honor of the lowest sales week at No. 1 goes to the "Dreamgirls" soundtrack. During its second week at No. 1 on The Billboard 200 last January, it sold only 60,000.

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