Answers to readers' questions about Chart Alert, Kimbereley Locke and girl groups.

WHERE IN THE WORLD IS BILLBOARD'S CHART ALERT?

Dear Mr. Caulfield,

I always look forward to your weekly "Ask Billboard" column and I appreciate your work for the magazine.

However, I was searching for the Billboard Chart Alert column, which you are the editor of as well, but so far I have been unable to find it after searching for it on your redesigned billboard.biz site. Can you help?

Sincerely,

Niko Mitsarakis


Hi Niko,

Thanks for the kind words!

As you can tell, the new Billboard.biz site is still working out some kinks. But the site should be easier to browse in the coming days as our crack team of Web technicians address various issues (like finding Chart Alert). In the near future, when you visit BillboardChartAlert.com, it should redirect you to the Chart Alert page. However, in the meantime, you can go straight to http://www.billboard.biz/bbbiz/charts/chart_alert/index.jsp.



UNLOCKE HOLIDAY TUNES

Dear Keith,

Kimberly Locke is currently No. 1 on the AC/Adult Contemporary chart for the second time with a cover of a holiday standard. I haven't seen either "Up On The Rooftop" or "Jingle Bells" on a Locke album. Is either song on an official release?

If not, what is the real point of releasing them?

Thanks,

Jason Englisbe
Greenville, SC


Hi Jason,

I’ve wondered this too. It seems weird how for two years running, Kimberley Locke has officially released a holiday song that you can't find on any album. Though, if we look at this more closely, it really seems like a great idea.

Because the bulk of adult contemporary radio stations in the U.S. switch to all-Christmas programming from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day, there is a hunger for new holiday songs for these stations to play. (I can't count the number of times I've listened to KOST in Los Angeles and thought "I didn't know so-n-so had done a Christmas song!")

Also, with the way the Billboard charts work, it's often easier to get a high charting single with a new holiday tune. Why? Well, our AC/Adult Contemporary chart only includes current or new songs. We move all of the old (or "recurrent") songs off the chart.

Right now, the AC/Adult Contemporary chart has three newly recorded holiday songs in its top 10: Locke at No. 1 with "Jingle Bells," Daryl Hall & John Oates at No. 3 with "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear" and Wynonna's "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" at No. 7. It's easier for a new holiday song to compete on he AC chart at this time of year because non-holiday music is played much less frequently right now, making holiday songs rise rapidly up the chart.

For example, Rascal Flatts' "What Hurts The Most" was No. 1 on the AC chart in late-November with 1226 spins one particular week. Two weeks ago, its weekly spin count fell to 376 at No. 2. That's a humongous drop -- but it's all owed to Christmas music pushing the current stuff out of the way.

So, Locke can now proclaim that she has had two No. 1 AC/Adult Contemporary hits in Billboard -- which is a pretty awesome achievement. How else does this help her -- aside from the fact that it makes a nice quote in a press release or biography? Well, it gets AC radio programmers more familiar with Locke, who then may be more receptive to her music the next time she has a new, non-holiday single out. In fact, she's prepping the release of a new single in January.



GIRLS ON TOP

Keith,

With Destiny's Child, SWV, En Vogue, TLC, the Supremes, and countless other classic and fantastic girl groups (permanently or temporarily) retired, I wanted to know which of the current girl groups: Danity Kane, Cherish, the Dixie Chicks, or the Pussycat Dolls are currently on top - at least in terms of album sales?


With Pride,

Eliakim Joseph
Brooklyn, New York


Hello Eliakim,

You have interesting taste, considering you lumped in the country trio the Dixie Chicks with an assortment of R&B and hip-hop girl groups. That said, the Chicks have sold tons more than Danity Kane, Cherish and the Pussycat Dolls, combined. The Chicks have shifted 25.5 million albums in the U.S. with their five albums (four studio sets, one live release) according to Nielsen SoundScan.

It's unfair to compare Danity Kane, Cherish and the Pussycat Dolls to the Chicks. The latter is an established superstar act that has been around for years, while the other three are still actively promoting their debut releases.