Answers to readers' questions about Pink, M.I.A. and Madonna.

PINK FADING TO BLACK?

Hi Keith!

I was just wondering about Pink. Her career started off so promising: her first two albums ("Can't Take Me Home" and "M!ssundaztood") did really well. But ever since then, her career seems to be on a down slope. "Try This" [her third album] failed to produce a solid hit single. [Her latest set] "I'm Not Dead" produced a top 20 hit with "Stupid Girls," but her last single ("Who Knew") has done less than stellar.

I just saw the video for her song "U + Ur Hand" and it's absolutely awesome! Can you confirm that this is her next single? I think this could really be a huge hit and I think she can use it. Can you also tell how many albums she has sold to date? Thanks so much!

Kevin Markowski
Chicago

P.S. Do you know whatever happened to that Janis Joplin movie she was supposed to have filmed?


Hello Kevin,

Pink's eye-popping video for "U + Ur Hand" is pretty cool, isn't it? I lost count of how many characters she played and over-the-top outfits she sported. (The video is pretty easy to find on the Web. Just try searching YouTube.com.)

According to her publicist, "U + Ur Hand" will not be a single in the U.S. It is, however, the third single from the album in Europe.

Does that mean Pink's record label (LaFace) is finished with promoting singles in America? Nope. (I made sure to circle back to her publicist and ask her about that.) It only means that "U + Ur Hand" won't be a single in the U.S.

So far, the new album's second single, "Who Knew," has yet to chart on the Billboard Hot 100. I personally think Pink's "I'm Not Dead" is a really good album and it's a shame it's not doing better in America.

Here is a roundup of Pink's four albums and how much they have each sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan: "Can't Take Me Home" (2000; 2.4 million), "M!ssundaztood" (2001; 5.3 million), "Try This" (2003; 709,000) and "I'm Not Dead" (2006; 422,000).

Pink's publicist didn't address the long-in-the-works Janis Joplin biopic, "The Gospel According To Janis," either. Last we heard, the title role in the Penelope Spheeris-directed film had yet to be cast.



MISSING IN ACTION

Keith,

It seems to me that about this time last year M.I.A. seemed to be poised at the edge of superstardom. Hailed by critics, named on dozens of top 10 lists, touring with Gwen Stefani -- it seemed she was going to be the next big thing. But, as they say, but where is she now?

"Arular" is easily one of my all-time favorite albums, but I'm craving some more. I've heard she's been barred from the U.S. and that Timbaland is supposed to produce some on her next album ... what do you know? Any word on when we can expect her next album?

Thanks,
Ronnie Houchin
Grand Rapids, Mich.


Hi Ronnie,

Well, we do know that M.I.A. is working on a new album. Sadly, we've got zero news on when it may be released or who is working with the singer. Her publicist indicated she had no other information at this time.

I've also read about how M.I.A. allegedly posted an audio file to her official Web site (www.miauk.com) proclaiming that she was denied a U.S. Visa in order to come to American to work on her forthcoming album. Conveniently, her Web site is offline. Additionally, I understand that her MySpace.com page supposedly once housed a blog entry from the rapper regarding this. But any writings specifically addressing this issue cannot be found there now. Her publicist didn't comment on this matter, either.

Her debut set, 2005's "Arular," has sold 118,000 in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan, and peaked at No. 190 on The Billboard 200.



FORSAKING MADONNA

Hi Keith,

I just read the Madonna article U.S. Radio Hangs Up On Madonna. It made a lot of sense. It put into perspective how radio handled each of Madonna's tracks.

My first question is, what is "call out research?" This phenomenon is supposedly responsible for her previous three tracks not getting the airplay that her fans feel they deserve.

To be fair, I am aware that her fans alone can't decide whether a song is going to be played. I also just recently found out after hearing that "Get Together" was going to be her last single released off her album, "Jump" is in fact going to be released. I am so excited about this news. I think that this song is more pop-oriented than her previous releases off the record -- even though I think that "Hung Up" and "Sorry" were great songs. I wonder, what changed Warner Bros.' minds?

As everyone knows, Madonna's Confessions tour is hugely successful. Does this say anything to radio about Madonna's continuing appeal to attract and excite people? Also, her tour is going to be aired on NBC, I hear. This would also be great exposure for her, as I'm sure people will tune in simply out of curiosity. I've said quite a bit, but what I really want to know is the concept behind callout research and your professional opinion on Madonna's "Jump."

You were right on in your opinions on "Sorry" and "Get Together" facing an uphill battle. They both failed on the radio in the U.S. Do you think "Jump" will face the same fate here in America?

Thank you,

Matthew Tarantino
Boston


Hi Matthew,

Glad you enjoyed the article on Madonna -- and why her singles aren't getting play on American radio but are successful overseas.

Call out research is where radio listeners are reached by telephone (hence the term "call out") and are played short samples of songs. The listener is then asked their opinion on the tune –- usually by rating the song with a number. This research is then used to determine what stations should play what song, how often, at what time of day, etc.

Regarding "Jump" as the fourth single from "Confessions" -- I'm pretty sure it was always slated to be a single. I think the order of the third and fourth singles got re-arranged at some point. But, as far as I'm aware, "Jump" was almost always going to be a single.

Now, will "Jump" succeed on American radio? Warner Bros. is optimistic and they seem committed to getting it on the airwaves. They are aiming to make it a genuine hit on Adult Top 40 and Adult Contemporary radio stations before they bring it to Mainstream Top 40 outlets.

Personally, I really think "Jump" is a great pop song -- way better than "Get Together." The latter was probably just too odd for American radio. "Jump," however, is very accessible and stands a chance at success on U.S. airwaves.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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