Fred discusses physical and digital single sales, remix credits and more with readers.
TANGIBLE VS. INTANGIBLE
I read that Carrie Underwood's "Inside Your Heaven" is the year's best-selling single, with just under a half million sold. But I know that Gwen Stefani's "Hollaback Girl" became the first song ever to sell a million digital downloads in 2005. When will digitally-purchased singles be folded into the Hot Singles Sales chart? That's what we're doing when we download a song: purchasing singles. I still go to the music store occasionally to buy a full length CD, but I don't even think of looking at singles there -- that's what the computer is for.
Sales of digital downloads as well as commercial singles are already integrated together when The Billboard Hot 100 is compiled. Since it is still useful to the record business to have separate charts for commercial singles sales and paid digital downloads, I wouldn't look for the information to be merged on the component charts.
Looking to the future, I could see a day when sales of commercial singles will drop to a level where that chart could be discontinued, but we're not there yet.
WHERE CREDIT IS DUE
How come artists who appear on popular remixes are not given credit for a song's performance on the Hot 100? It seems patently unfair that Juelz Santana is not given credit for having a No. 1 single with "Run It!" when his version is so clearly more popular than the Chris Brown album cut.
The remix version of "Run It!" is the only version that is selling at iTunes, the video clip was shot to Santana's version and he appears in the clip, and a significant number, if not most, of the song's audience impressions come from the remix featuring Juelz Santana.
I realize not all remixes are this popular, and Billboard certainly would not want to give an artist chart credit simply for appearing on a remix but when a remix is so clearly more popular than the album track why doesn't Billboard step in and award the artist(s) featured on the remix chart credit?
Credits are contractual, usually determined by the business affairs departments at record companies in conjunction with artists and their representatives. Billboard follows official credits and does not arbitrarily reassign credit.
Having said that, there are times when one version of a song becomes more popular than another, and credits are altered. I'll pass your e-mail along to our chart department for consideration, though any change would be made in cooperation with Chris Brown's record label, Jive.
NINE GOING ON 10
With Kenny Chesney debuting at No. 1 on The Billboard 200 this week, we now have nine consecutive album tallies that feature a No. 1 debut. (The other eight, in reverse order: "Now 20," Destiny's Child, Ashlee Simpson, Alicia Keys, Nickelback, Gretchen Wilson, Disturbed and Paul Wall). If I'm not mistaken, this ties a record from 2003, when a string of albums like Marilyn Manson's "Golden Age of Grotesque" and Ashanti's "Chapter II" were quickly turning over the top slot.
With new albums by Madonna and Carrie Underwood charting next week, it seems likely that we'll see a 10th consecutive debut at No. 1 (and if Madonna's the one, she'll have participated in both recent records, since "American Life" was part of that 2003 nine-album cycle). I just wanted to call everyone's attention to this interesting bit of chart trivia (and make sure that my facts were correct, of course!)
Thanks as always, Fred, for all your great work. Between "Chart Beat," "Chart Beat Chat" and my regular dips into "The Billboard Book of Number One Hits," you're a constant presence in my week.
A couple of weeks ago, our chart director, Geoff Mayfield, speculated that we would have a record-setting 10th debut at No. 1 in a row next week. As I write this, it's too close to call between Madonna's "Confessions on a Dancefloor" and Carrie Underwood's "Some Hearts," but one of those CDs should be the one to set the record.