Fred and his readers discuss Bodies Without Organs, Robyn and airplay.
WORK THOSE BODIES
I've been a fan of the Swedish band Bodies Without Organs for a long time and I've read you really like the group. I've been waiting for BWO to hit the U.S. charts with its awesome songs, but so far I have only heard a "maybe we'll go to America" from singer Martin Rolinski. The group members have been busy touring in Europe and Asia (I've seen them live twice), so I can understand they haven't had the time to figure out what their next big step is going to be.
But, if they try to conquer America (as their song says), do you think Americans will take BWO to their hearts as many Europeans have? Do you think a band like this can be accepted and loved? I mean, it's not exactly the average band that goes to the No. 1 spot. It is very different, but in a very good way.
I would LOVE to see them on the charts in the United States and I think they would like that too. I also believe that BWO really can become "the next
ABBA," as people over here call the group.
Looking forward to your answer!
Bodies Without Organs has released two albums, but neither one has been issued in the United States. The first CD, "Protoype," was my favorite album of 2004. I like the second release, "Halcyon Days," quite a bit, too.
I'd love to see how BWO would fare in America, but it doesn't seem like the group has that in mind. It is a big commitment to take on the United States and difficult to do if you're not willing to spend a lot of time traveling around the country. It takes you away from other territories, such as Europe and Asia, and keeps you away from your home country as well. That is why a lot of international acts don't release their product here.
On the other hand, it is a big prize -- the No. 1 market in the world for recordings -- so it's worth going for if one wants to take on the commitment.
COINCIDENCE? YOU BE THE JUDGE
My question is about the singer [from] the late '90s, Robyn. She [released] the songs "Show Me Love" and "Do You Know (What It Takes)." Where did these songs chart and how well did the album do?
Also, I can only find one album of hers -- does she have any more, and is there anything more coming from her in the near future? I can't believe a woman with such vocal talents only made one album.
Thanks a bundle!
You might be surprised to find your e-mail here in Chart Beat Chat, since you sent it to our "Ask Billboard" column. Keith Caulfield forwarded your letter to me to consider for my column, as he often does (and I often send questions more suited to his column to him or suggest readers send their queries to Keith).
All that aside, it was an incredible coincidence to read your e-mail right after answering the above letter about Bodies Without Organs. That's because while BWO recorded my favorite album of 2005, my favorite single of last year was "Be Mine!" by Robyn.
So now you know she is still recording, but let's go back in time and answer the first part of your missive. Robyn Carlsson first appeared on the Hot 100 the week of May 31, 1997, with "Do You Know (What It Takes)." The single peaked at No. 7 the week of Aug. 2. The follow-up, "Show Me Love," also peaked at No. 7, the week of Nov. 29. If you're curious, the first single spent two weeks at No. 7 and the second single had a three-week run in that same position.
To date, those are the only songs by Robyn that have appeared on the Hot 100. A third single, "Do You Really Want Me (Show Respect)," went to No. 32 on the Hot 100 Airplay chart in 1998 (it wasn't available as a commercial single and thus, under the chart rules that existed at that time, wasn't eligible for the Hot 100). All three songs appeared on the album "Robyn Is Here," which peaked at No. 57 in 1998.
Robyn's career has continued in her native Sweden and across Europe. There was an album in 1999 called "My Truth" that was supposed to be released in the United States, but the label wanted Robyn to "Americanize" it and she decided it would be better not to release it then alter her artistic vision. In 2003 she released an album titled "Don't Stop the Music" and as I understand it, the same thing happened with a request to make some changes for America and the request was denied.
Two years later, Robyn formed her own record label, Konichiwa, and released the single "Be Mine!" It was a No. 1 hit in Sweden and, as mentioned above, was my No. 1 single of 2005. Robyn also released an album in 2005, the eponymously-titled "Robyn," which debuted at No. 1 on the Swedish chart.
I'm still holding out hope that Robyn's new material will be released in the United States. Maybe "Be Mine!" can be released here in time for her 10th anniversary on the Hot 100?
With all the talk about airplay and its impact on a song's position on the charts, it got me wondering about satellite radio and digital cable music channels (such as Music Choice on Comcast cable). Does airplay on either of these venues count toward the airplay points for a song?
As satellite radio and commercial-free music channels on cable networks grow and so-called "terrestrial" radio begins to re-invent itself, it seems that the charts will have to adjust to reflect these outlets for songs. If satellite radio and cable music channels do currently count toward a song's airplay points, how does the format of the channel impact where the points are assigned (for example, Sirius has a number of channels that play the same song, though the format of each channel is much more specific than the standard terrestrial radio station)? If non-commercial outlets don't currently count toward a song's chart position, do you foresee a time in the near future when they might be factored into the Billboard charts?
Love your column!
As you say, there has been a lot of discussion lately here in Chart Beat Chat about airplay and how it is factored into the charts. In the course of that conversation, I have mentioned the two different ways airplay is measured -- strictly by the number of spins, or by audience impressions (the number of plays at given moments multiplied by the number of people listening to that specific station at those specific times, as determined by ratings of radio stations).
While I knew the answer to your question, I ran your e-mail by Hot 100 chart manager Silvio Pietroluongo for an official reply. Here's what Silvio had to say:
"Some charts in Billboard are ranked by audience impressions and some are tallied by plays. The charts fueled by audience impressions, like the Hot 100, do not incorporate satellite radio play since there is currently no reliable audience measurement numbers for those type of stations. Some of our charts ranked by plays, like Modern Rock and Adult Contemporary, do use data from satellite stations."