Answers to readers' questions about Stevie Nicks, Steve Miller and internet CD pre-sales.
OK, Keith, I've got questions,
I don't usually write, but I just can't seem to locate any information about her, and I've never seen you write about her... so, I guess it's time to do this.
It's been five long years since Stevie Nicks' "Trouble In Shangri-La" debuted on the chart. It's been almost three and a half years since Fleetwood Mac's "Say You Will" came out. While I understand that she's never been very prolific, is Stevie Nicks going to release any new music soon? I have not come across any information about her recording new material. Is there any word?
Next: I visit the RIAA site (www.riaa.com) frequently to see how well certain titles are selling and at around Christmas time, I looked up Stevie's "Bella Donna" album. At that time, there was a line item listing this record as having sold 5 million copies. When I look it up now, however, the certification has vanished. I know I'm not crazy. It was there. I even wrote about it to Nicks' official Web site www.nicksfix.com, and they included it on their sales stats. Can you help me to figure out what happened there?
Last question: Can you tell me how Stevie's recordings have sold in the SoundScan era (1991-present)? If you want to throw Fleetwood Mac in there too, that would be fun to see as well!
Faithfully checking every week for your words of wisdom,
Alex D. Falcone
Actually, I'm a fan of Stevie's work and I, too, would love to hear some new music from her. I really enjoyed the "Trouble In Shangri-La" album -- and even the fun dance mixes of that set's single, "Planets of the Universe." I've written about her, and Fleetwood Mac, numerous times in the past. But you're right: it has been a while since I last mentioned her.
We asked Nicks' publicist, the intrepid Liz Rosenberg, for a comment, but she didn't get back to us by deadline -- alas. Luckily, Nicks herself occasionally answers questions at her NicksFix.com Web site. The last time someone asked her about recording a new album, she said "I'm sure I will do another record somewhere down the line." Yeah, that's not exactly very specific. Here's to hoping we get some real news soon. After all, the "Trouble" album was fairly successful -- it debuted at No. 5 on The Billboard 200 and spent 20 weeks on the chart. It has sold 655,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan.
Regarding the certification status of Nicks' "Bella Donna" album: that's a curious question. A spokesperson for the RIAA indicated that it simply could have been a processing error that led you to see a certification for 5 million. An application was processed for the certification of "Bella" at 5 million; however, it only qualified for 4 million. So, perhaps there was a temporary data entry error on the RIAA's end that had them input a 5 million certification to its Web site but then withdrew it after establishing the album was only eligible for 4 million. Does that make sense?
Generally speaking, all questions about the gold and platinum certification program administered by the RIAA should be directed to the organization directly via its Web site RIAA.com.
Finally, here is a quick rundown of Nicks' SoundScan-era releases, with and without Fleetwood Mac:
"Timespace: The Best of Stevie Nicks" (1991; 1.5 million)
"25 Years: The Chain" (a Fleetwood Mac box set, 1992; 79,000)
"Street Angel" (1994; 229,000)
"The Dance" (Fleetwood Mac, 1997; 4.4 million)
"Enchanted" (box set, 1998; 168,000)
"Trouble In Shangri-La" (2001; 655,000)
"The Very Best Of Fleetwood Mac" (2002; 1.1 million)
"Say You Will" (Fleetwood Mac, 2003; 853,000)
I'm a long time Billboard reader and enjoy your column.
My questions are about the Steve Miller Band. As a young kid in the '70s, I grew accustomed to the rock music of the time, which has morphed into the Classic Rock genre these days. I recently picked up his 2003 release "Young Hearts: Complete Greatest Hits."
Listening to the first 10 tracks, I was shocked that I remembered everyone one of them and I didn't realize what a hitmaker this band was. I understand the first hits package, "Greatest Hits 1974-78," sold amazingly well and is certified platinum several times over.
Can you give sales figures for both sets since SoundScan has been in effect, and if you know if Miller has anything in the pipeline for release.
We reached out to Steve Miller's publicist at Capitol Records and she told us that Miller isn't working on a new studio album at this time.
However, back in June, Billboard correspondent Gary Graff spoke to Steve Miller about the re-issue of "Fly Like an Eagle," as well as his upcoming plans.
Here is an excerpt of that Billboard.com story:
"Meanwhile, Miller is preparing for his next recording project, a collaboration with the University of Southern California Jazz Band that will take place at the end of the month in Capitol Records' Studio A in Los Angeles. Miller performed with the ensemble in April and plans big band arrangements of some of his hits ('Living in the U.S.A.,' 'Fly Like an Eagle,' 'The Joker,' 'Nature Boy') as well as covers of songs by Stevie Wonder, T-Bone Walker and Bobby Blue Bland. He hopes to release it later this year or in the first half of 2007.
"'These kids really surprised me,' Miller says. 'They've had classical training, jazz training, but they all play by ear, too. They can do blues. They can do jazz. They can do Nine Inch Nails -- anything they want to. Anything they hear, they can play it. Their ideas are fresh, their playing is energetic and they're control was amazing. I'm really looking forward to recording with them.'"
Miller's "Greatest Hits 1974-78" has sold 5.1 million units since 1991 according to Nielsen SoundScan, while "Young Hearts" has moved 640,000.
Amazon.com, Apple iTunes Music Store and, I assume, other music e-retail sites, have been pre-selling albums for some time now. Today I noticed Justin Timberlake's new CD "FutureSex/LoveSounds" is the second-highest ranked album sold of the day -- above many CDs actually already released. His CD is No. 12 on Amazon.com's site, but it doesn't go on sale for two more weeks.
How do pre-sales figure into the first-week sales of an album? Do they automatically count as first week sales, or do they get lost in a "pre-first week" limbo?
By the way, love your column!
The sale of an album is counted when it is fulfilled to the consumer. So, even if you buy an album now, unless you actually get the goods, it doesn't count as a sale for our chart purposes. Pre-sales of Timberlake's album at iTunes are rolled into the first week, because you won't be able to download the Justin album until the day it's released.