Discussion of Madonna, Delta Goodrem and chart rules with readers.

WE KEPT HIM HANGIN' ON

Fred,

I'm just wondering what's going on with the new Madonna single, "Hung Up." Have the dance clubs, downloaders and radio already "hung up" on this project?

I haven't seen the song on any Billboard chart, not even the Dance Club Playlist, where she usually vaults straight to No. 1. It hasn't appeared on the Hot Ringtones chart despite a massive television promotion. We all know that radio no longer welcomes her thanks to the cold shoulder given to "Hollywood" and "Love Profusion" (two excellent songs from her last project), so it's unlikely to see Hot 100 action either.

If this song doesn't even chart, what do you think the prospects are for what I thought was a much-anticipated dance-oriented album saleswise? I was hoping for a Mariah Carey type of comeback but I'm perplexed by the silence regarding this song. I can't even find it myself to download!

Thanks,

George Kitchens III
Bloomsburg, Pa.
acaseofgeo@aol.com

Dear George,

As you probably know by now, you were expecting results too early. Your e-mail was sent on Oct. 17. That was the day Madonna's "Hung Up" was originally scheduled to be world premiered. That means it wouldn't have received any airplay prior to this date, wouldn't have been available for downloading prior to this date and wouldn't have been eligible to chart yet.

I say "originally scheduled" because despite deep security, the song leaked to radio on Thursday, Oct. 13. As a result, Madonna's label released the track to radio on Friday, Oct. 14, to level the playing field. "Hung Up" did debut on Billboard's Hot Dance Club Play chart at No. 25 and the Hot Dance Radio Airplay tally at No. 10.

On the latter chart, "Hung Up" is tied with Beyoncé's "Naughty Girl" for the second highest debut in this chart's short history. Since the Dance Radio Airplay chart was introduced the week of Aug. 16, 2003, the highest debut was the No. 5 bow of Ciara's "1, 2 Step" the week of Jan. 29.

With "Hung Up" turning up in iTunes' top 10 almost immediately, and with airplay factored on, I would expect a high debut on next week's Hot 100. I think that bodes well for the album on The Billboard 200.



DELTA DAWNS

Hi Fred,

This morning I went on the Billboard Web site to check out the chart updates, as I do faithfully every Thursday. I usually don't look at every chart, but today I looked at the Adult Contemporary chart. I was shocked to see Delta Goodrem at No. 19 with "Lost Without You."

Does the appearance of this song on the chart mean that she is finally going to get a U.S. album release? I've been a fan since "Born to Try" hit the U.K. charts, but figured that she was going to be just another one of those artists that the United States missed out on.

If there is a U.S. album release in the works, do you know what the track list is going to be? Will it be a combination of tracks from her two albums or just a straight release of her debut "Innocent Eyes?"

I'm really excited about this, I'd love to see her achieve the same success in the United States as she has in Australia and the United Kingdom.

Thanks,

Brian Lynch

Dear Brian,

Delta Goodrem is indeed a priority with Columbia Records in America. The label brought her to the United States last year to work with some American songwriters. Also, you may have seen her on The World Music Awards broadcast on ABC-TV in September. I wrote the show, and while I wasn't responsible for booking her, I was very happy she was on the telecast.

I don't have a finalized track listing for the U.S. edition of the album, which is scheduled to be a blending of her first two albums, with some tracks tweaked for American audiences. You can expect most of Delta's hit singles from Australia to be on the album, along with her duet with former Westlife member Brian McFadden. There will be at least one new song on the CD, which was originally scheduled for U.S. release in November and has now been rescheduled for Jan. 10, 2006.

After taping The World Music Awards, Delta returned home to Oz for a tour, but she is scheduled to be back in the States in time to promote her first American release. That means you should be seeing a lot of Ms. Goodrem come the new year.



21 WEEKS

Dear Fred,

Twice in the last couple months, songs that have charted on the Hot 100 for more than 20 weeks have dropped below No. 50 but remained on the chart.

In the Sept. 3 issue, "Let Me Go" by 3 Doors Down spent its 31st week on the chart at No. 51. This week, "Mr. Brightside" by the Killers spends its 38th week on the chart, also at No. 51.

What gives? Is there a chart rule I don't know about? Or has there been a lack of chart diligence of late?

Josh Hosler
Seattle

Dear Josh,

When the Hot 100 is compiled, sales and airplay data are added together by computer. Because technology sometimes lags behind where it should be, some digital sales have to be added in at the last minute by hand -- literally, someone adds in the points using a calculator.

In both cases that you cited, the songs were originally at No. 50 and were not removed from the chart. When digital points were added in by hand at the last moment, both songs slipped to No. 51. They should have been removed, but they weren't. Chalk it up to human error, and I'm sure the chart department will be keeping an eye on this problem in the future.