Answers to readers' questions about Dixie Chicks, PJ Harvey and Madonna.

WHISTLING DIXIE

Hi Keith,

I have a real easy question for you. I am going through Dixie Chicks withdrawal because it's been over three years since we've been treated to new music from the trio.

Do you have a specific release date for their new CD which is due out in early 2006? Help me. I need my Chicks fix!

Thanks,

Nancy Atkins
Aloha, Ore.

Hi Nancy,

I'm feeling the withdrawals too. While the Dixie Chicks are at work on a new studio album with producer Rick Rubin, a release date has yet to be announced.

However, in a recent Billboard.com story, sources said that the country group aims to hit the road in late June for an arena tour, so one can imagine an album would arrive sometime in the late spring or early summer.

The group's last album, 2002's "Home," has sold 5.8 million units in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.



THE LEGEND OF POLLY JEAN

Hi Keith,

I have been a fan of PJ Harvey for quite some time now, and I was wondering how many copies all her albums have sold in the United States, starting with "Dry" and ending with "Uh Huh Her." Can you please inform me?

Bryant

Hi Bryant,

Below is the rundown of PJ Harvey's U.S. sales, according to Nielsen SoundScan, beginning with the 1992 full-length debut "Dry." The Polly Jean Harvey-led act's most recent set is "Uh Huh Her," which debuted and peaked at No. 29 on The Billboard 200 in June 2004.

"Dry" (1992; 176,000)
"Rid of Me" (1993; 207,000)
"4-Track Demos" (1993; 119,000)
"To Bring You My Love" (1995; 371,000)
"Is This Desire?" (1998; 164,000)
"Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea" (2000; 285,000)
"Uh Huh Her" (2004; 135,000)



HUNG UP

Hello Keith,

This question is in regard to Madonna's single "Hung Up." While it did manage to crack the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100, would it be safe to assume that if radio had played it more, could it have been a No. 1 single?

I read an article in the Los Angeles Times which discussed local top 40 radio station KIIS and its reluctance to play her single because of her age and because "Hung Up" wasn't a hip-hop song.

It amazes me that her video of the same song could maintain a No. 1 position on MTV's "TRL" for days on end but radio would still shun her. Do radio programmers have that much control over the airwaves?

Thanks,

Jimmy Rivera

Hi Jimmy,

Your question is more of a general gripe about commercial radio in general, but I understand where you are coming from.

Right now, hip-hop music is the most popular and dominant format in the United States. There is a lot of research to back this up -- otherwise radio wouldn't be playing rap and hip-hop. Radio spends a lot of time, effort and money to determine what their listeners want to hear. Programmers play what they conclude their listeners want to hear. Right now, the masses want to hear hip-hop.

Specifically regarding Madonna's "Hung Up," certainly if it had more radio airplay it would have achieved a higher position on the Billboard Hot 100. But, it still went all the way to No. 7 -- a huge feat for a disco song. I say that because dance music (that isn't hip-hop or rap) doesn't have a lot of support from mainstream radio stations, thus, you don't find many traditional pop/dance songs getting much airplay.

KIIS Los Angeles has to make sure it plays what its listeners want to hear. If you are a radio programmer, you don't want to run the risk of having a listener turn off the radio or switch to another station. So, they play what is the most popular according to their research. Madonna's "Hung Up" evidently didn't do very well in their research with listeners, so they opted not to play it very much. (To KIIS' credit, the station did play "Hung Up," usually about 16 times a week during its peak.)

Madonna's next single will be "Sorry." Perhaps it will climb higher on the Hot 100 with more widespread support from radio.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

Print