Keith Caulfield answers readers' questions about Bjork, film soundtracks and girl group sales.

TjOURk?

Keith,

First of all, thanks for your recent updates on Kylie Minogue and the Spice Girls. My question is about another of my favorite artists, Bjork. I was wondering what her album sales totals look like in the United States and if she has any plans to tour in support of "Medulla" or otherwise.

Thanks!

Ronnie Houchin

Hi Ronnie,

So far, Bjork's "Medulla" has sold 177,000 units according to Nielsen SoundScan. Released in August, the set peaked at No. 14 on The Billboard 200, Bjork's career high on the chart.

Thus far, no tour plans have been announced. However, Bjork is prepping for the promotion and release of the album's next single, "Triumph of the Heart." It is due out in early 2005 in conjunction with a music video directed by Spike Jonze, who also directed one of her most famous videos, "It's Oh So Quiet."

Bjork was recently nominated for two Grammy awards: best female pop vocal performance for "Oceania" and best alternative music album.



GOD ONLY KNOWS

Hi Keith,

I was wondering why some films don't have soundtracks released? Is it because of licensing issues? I was particularly interested in why the soundtrack to "Saved!," starring Mandy Moore, has not been released. The film features her cover of the Beach Boys hit, "God Only Knows," with Michael Stipe, one of the producers of that film. One would think he would have some pull in the music industry.

Speaking of Mandy Moore -- what is going on with her? First she split with her label, Epic, then she comes out with a premature greatest hits album. Does she have a new label and is she planning on releasing anything new soon?

Thanks!

Jamie Sward

Hello Jamie,

There are numerous reasons for not releasing a film's soundtrack. A lot of the time it has to do with the parties involved simply deciding that it would not be a profitable venture. Sometimes hiring talent for a project is too costly or licensing a specific track is too pricey. The particular reason why a "Saved!" album was not released is unknown to this writer.

Mandy Moore signed with Sire Records earlier this year after completing her contract with Epic, which subsequently released "The Best of Mandy Moore" in November. Note that it isn't titled "Greatest Hits."

She is currently working on a forthcoming studio effort, which is hoped to bow in early 2005.



THE MOSTEST

Keith,

Hey! I love reading your column every week. I think it's great that there's someone to answer questions like these.

So I was wondering who the biggest selling girl band is. I've heard at different times that it's been the Supremes, TLC, Spice Girls and Destiny's Child. So could you set the record straight and let us know once and for all who the biggest selling girl band is?

Thanks!

Kevin M.
Chicago

Keith,

I am so tired of hearing so many acts introduced as the biggest [selling] female group of all time. TLC held the record for a while until the Dixie Chicks broke their record. Now each and every commercial introduces Destiny's Child as the largest [selling] female group of all time.

Who, according to sales, holds this record and also could you please rank them according to their SoundScan sales. I have to shut quite a few people up. (My money is still on the Dixie Chicks.)

C. Joseph Font'enot

Hello,

First, I can only claim to know sales figures for the United States. So, while one act may be the biggest selling in America, it might not be the case worldwide. There is no one firm that tabulates and verifies global sales -- like how Nielsen SoundScan does in the United States.

With that in mind, here goes.

For the Nielsen SoundScan era (1991 through the present), the Dixie Chicks are the biggest selling female act in the United States. The country trio has sold 23 million albums in America, followed by TLC (15.2 million), Destiny's Child (13.3 million) and the Spice Girls (11.8 million).

In terms of all-time data, we have to look at figures provided by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The trade group represents the major record labels in the U.S. and also audits shipments to retailers and administers the gold and platinum certification program.

According to the RIAA, the top selling female act of all time in the United States is the Dixie Chicks (with 28.5 million album shipments), with TLC (22 million) in the runner-up position.

One would think that the Supremes would rank high on the all-times sales tally. However, the legendary group only had three gold albums (500,000 units shipped).