Ask Billboard

Keith Caulfield answers readers questions about Placebo, Opeth and Dio.


Dear Keith,

One of my favorite bands is Placebo. I was wondering if any of the group's four albums or any singles were released in the U.S. If yes, how did they fare? I don't remember seeing one of their albums on The Billboard 200.


Angelo Rychel
Munich, Germany


All four of Placebo's albums have been released in the U.S. But none have reached The Billboard 200. The group's 1996 self-titled debut was released by Caroline and has sold 30,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen Soundscan.

The 1998 follow-up, "Without You I'm Nothing," released in 1998 via Virgin, sold 145,000 and peaked at No. 20 on Billboard's Heatseekers chart. It was around this time that the band was championed by David Bowie, who gave the band the opening slot for his star-studded 50th birthday party at New York's Madison Square Garden.

2001's "Black Market Music" has moved 31,000 copies in the U.S. and debuted at No. 48 on the Heatseekers chart, while this year's "Sleeping With Ghosts" has sold 25,000 and bowed at No. 18 on the tally.


Hello Keith,

Could you please tell me how many copies Opeth's albums "Blackwater Park" and "Damnation" have sold?

Thank you,


Hi Dan,

Opeth's "Blackwater Park," released in 2001 on Koch, has sold 40,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan. "Damnation," which came out in April this year, has sold 23,000.


Hi Keith,

I'm a huge fan of veteran heavy rock act Dio, currently touring the States with Iron Maiden and Motorhead.

Dio hasn't received a gold album (indicating 500,000 units shipped [in the U.S.]) since "Sacred Heart" (released in 1985). How many units have the albums "Dream Evil," "Lock Up the Wolves," "Strange Highways," "Angry Machines," "Magica" and "Killing the Dragon" shifted since their release?

Thanks a lot,

Thomas Christiansen

Hi Thomas,

Here are your numbers. Keep in mind that Nielsen SoundScan began tabulating sales data in May 1991, so for those albums that pre-date the retail sales tracking system, I have provided figures for 1991 through the present.

1987's "Dream Evil" and 1990's "Lock Up the Wolves" have sold 52,000 and 46,000, respectively, since the beginning of the SoundScan era. 1994's "Strange Highways" has sold 74,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan, while 1996's "Angry Machines" has moved 36,000, 2000's "Magica" 47,000 and last year's "Killing the Dragon" 40,000.

For further information about how the process of awarding gold and platinum albums works, visit the Recording Industry Association of America's Web site at