Ask Billboard

Keith discusses Tori Amos, Pat Benetar and Laura Branigan this week.

AMOS' 'POSSE'

Hi Keith,

Being something of an obsessive fan of Tori Amos, I've always wondered why I keep hearing vague mutterings that her 1996 "Boys for Pele" album (my personal favorite) is her highest seller in the U.S. I find this surprising, considering the anecdotal evidence I keep hearing of people preferring her somewhat less obscure earlier albums ("Little Earthquakes" and "Under the Pink").

Since she'll presumably be back in the upper reaches of the Billboard 200 next week with "American Doll Posse," I was wondering if you could let me know sales figures for her albums to date.

Thanks,

Roozi Araghi
Canberra, ACT, Australia


Hello Roozi,

Those mutterings you're hearing are all wrong. "Boys for Pele" is Amos' third-best seller in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan. It has sold 1 million units in America, while "Little Earthquakes" (1.9 million) and "Under the Pink" (1.4 million) are tops.

Amos' new album, "American Doll Posse," is on track to become her sixth top 10 album on The Billboard 200 when it debuts next week. (Note: This column was written on May 4.)



SALES ARE A BATTLEFIELD

Hi Keith,

I recently attended a sold-out Pat Benatar concert in New York, and it got me wondering how many albums and singles she has sold. I know that she has consistently toured over the past few years and her name keeps popping up in interviews with young rockers like Pink and Kelly Clarkson. It would be interesting to know if this ongoing exposure translates into sales.

Many thanks!

Jay Frederick Wetterau
London


Hi Jay,

You came all the way to New York from London for a Pat Benatar concert?
You're a devoted fan, indeed.

In 2006, Benatar's catalog of albums sold 245,000 in the U.S. according to Nielsen SoundScan while in 2005 it shifted 342,000. The bulk of the sales from those years are due to the 2005 set "Greatest Hits." It has moved 432,000 since its release.

Collectively, Benatar has also sold 961,000 digital tracks to date. Her biggest sellers, to no one's surprise, include "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" (194,000), "Love Is A Battlfield" (201,000) and "We Belong" (136,000).



BRANIGAN AGAIN

Hi Keith,

Rhino Records re-released "The Best of Branigan," Laura Branigan's 1995 greatest hits collection, on April 24. Since this was originally an Atlantic Records release, will the sales of the re-release be added to the original release total or be counted separately?

Many thanks!

Sincerely,
Karl Bittner
McLean, Va.


Hi Karl,

Generally speaking, record labels request that identical albums that are reissued have their new sales merged together with the sales of the previous release. However, it is not unusual that a label will simply forget to request a merge, or, they specifically want to keep the pieces separate in order to more accurately track the sales.

For the Branigan album, the older piece was recently deleted from Atlantic's catalog, so it's quite likely that the new album will be merged with the older piece.

It's no shock that "The Best of Branigan" is the late singer's best seller since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking data in 1991. It has shifted 147,000 in the U.S.