Ask Billboard

Answers to readers' questions about Chris Isaak, Britney Spears and Janet Jackson.


Hello Keith,

I look forward to reading your responses to readers' questions every week!

Until now, I never had an occasion to write. However, a question occurred to me as Chris Isaak took his "Best of Chris Isaak" tour through Ohio over the past few weeks.

My question is: What are the sales of his eight studio albums, his Christmas album and the current "Best Of" during the SoundScan era? Also, are there any plans to release "Let's Have a Party" or "I Want You to Want Me" to radio as singles?

Thank you!

Best regards,

DeWayne Ray
Cincinnati, Ohio

Hi DeWayne,

Chris Isaak is celebrating his extensive career with Reprise Records with his current "Best of Chris Isaak" album. The set includes 18 songs, including, of course, his biggest pop hit, 1990's "Wicked Game." The release is also available in a CD/DVD edition with 18 videos and an audio commentary from Isaak.

The album's next new single is "Let's Have a Party." It follows "King Without a Castle," a top 10 hit on our Triple-A radio chart.

So far, "Best of Chris Isaak" has sold 118,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan. Since the company began tracking data in 1991, Isaak has sold 6.6 million albums in America. Unfortunately, three of his albums -– "Heart Shaped World," "Silvertone" and his self-titled 1986 set -– came out before 1991. So we have an incomplete sales picture for those titles.

Here is the low down on Isaak's album sales from 1991 through the present:

"Silvertone" (1985; 147,000)
"Chris Isaak" (1986; 393,000)
"Heart Shaped World" (1989; 2.6 million)
"San Francisco Days" (1993; 725,000)
"Forever Blue" (1995; 1.2 million)
"Baja Sessions" (1996; 556,000)
"Speak Of The Devil" (1998; 392,000)
"Always Got Tonight" (2002; 340,000)
"Chris Isaak Christmas" (2004; 152,000)


Dear Keith,

With all the media surrounding Britney Spears' life and her husband's music endeavors, I was wondering how much her last studio effort, "In the Zone," has sold altogether. In some places I have read that it has sold over 3 million, but some others say the numbers stall at 2.9 million. If you could help me out I'd really appreciate it.

Thanks Keith,

Jason Joseph

Hello Jason,

Right now, "In the Zone" has sold 2.95 million units in the U.S. It sells a few hundred copies each week, so it's slowly closing in on 3 million.

Spears has sold 28 million albums in America since the bow of her debut set, "...Baby One More Time" in 1999.

The singer is currently working on a new studio album, but a release date has not been announced.


Dear Keith,

I have a question, or rather an ongoing dispute between fans of Janet Jackson. We are deciding what would be the better measure of her success -– U.S. or international album sales?

I argue that the most albums are sold within the U.S., so an artist would want those domestic sales. Also, the European charts' top tens are flooded with American artists.

Johnie Bailey
Flint, Mich.

Hi Johnie,

The United States is the biggest market for music in the world –- that is, more albums are sold each year in America than in any other country. So, with that, I'd imagine that to a lot of artists, making it big in the U.S. is a big deal.

But –- and there's always a but -– that doesn't mean that if you aren't a big seller in America you aren't successful. There are tons of artists that Americans have never heard that are selling loads of albums outside of the U.S.