Keith Caulfield answers readers' questions about TLC, Destiny's Child, Shania Twain, and Monica.

TLC VS. DESTINY

Keith,

Each time TLC or Destiny's Child is in the media, they are introduced as the biggest selling girl group in history. Well, who is the biggest selling group and what do we go by to prove this? TLC has sold an estimated 27 million copies per [a report on] the NBC "Dateline" show, while Destiny's Child has sold 23 million copies according to Oprah Winfrey. Please answer.

Sheila Addison

Hi Sheila,

TLC's four albums have sold a combined 14.3 million units in the U.S. according to Nielsen SoundScan, while Destiny's Child has moved 10.7 million albums. Keep in mind that SoundScan only tracks U.S. sales, and worldwide sales are often reported by an act's label.

TLC's latest disc, "3D," is No. 24 on The Billboard 200; while Destiny's Child's Christmas album, "8 Days Of Christmas," is ranked No. 40 on Billboard's Top Holiday Albums chart.

The latter trio -- made up of Beyonce Knowles, Michelle Williams, and Kelly Rowland -- has a lot of side projects either currently on the charts or due out soon. Rowland's "Simply Deep" album is at No. 54 on The Billboard 200, while her single "Stole" is at No. 29 on Billboard's Hot 100. She also has a No. 1 earlier this year with "Dilemma," her collaboration with Nelly. That Fo' Reel/Universal cut spent 10 weeks at the top earlier this year.

In July, Williams' gospel set, "Heart To Yours," spent at week at No. 1 on Billboard's Top Gospel Albums chart. Finally, Knowles solo set, "Dangerously in Love," is due in March. Currently, her pairing with Jay-Z on the track "'03 Bonnie & Clyde," is No. 8 on the Hot 100.



THE LOW DOWN ON 'UP!'

Hey Keith,

I am a little bit troubled by the fact that Shania Twain's "Up!" sold almost 850,000 copies in one week. I believe the reason it sold that many copies is because it is deep-discounted at several outlets across the U.S. Best Buy had it on sale for $8.99 while Circuit City has it for $9.99. Not such a bad price for a double CD. In fact, it's almost analogous to the idea of selling singles at 99 cents.

Now, while it is a double-disc, it contains the same songs on each disc. Technically, it's a single CD with a bonus remix disc. If artists like Madonna or Celine Dion used this same tactic, they'd probably sell even more. How will the RIAA consider it for certification? Did she go double platinum in a week? Do they factor pricing as part of their certification process as well?

Anthony Lee

Hi Anthony,

According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), a multi-disc album can have each of the units within its set counted as one unit toward certification, so long as the running time of the entire package is at least 100 minutes.

There are no stipulations regarding remixes and such for multi-disc sets. All pricing requirements for certification are based upon the suggested list price of an album, not the "sale" price you find at stores. Shania Twain's latest Mercury Nashville set "Up!" has a list price of $19.98. Thus, even if there were concerns regarding the pricing of the album with regards to certification, the sale pricing of the "Up!" disc at stores would have nothing to do with the process.

Remember that the RIAA bases its data on shipments to retailers, and not Nielsen SoundScan sales. For more information about the RIAA, visit its Web site.

"Up!" debuted at No. 1 on The Billboard 200 last week, and remains in the top spot this week. The set has sold 1,497,000 copies in two weeks, according to Nielsen SoundScan.



MISSING MONICA

Hi Keith,

I notice that Monica's album did not get released. The first single was not that good. What do they plan to do about that? She needs better direction. Her last effort, "The Boy Is Mine," was great.

Thanks,

Adrian

Hi Adrian,

Monica's album, "All Eyez on Me," has been pushed back to next year. A specific release date has not been announced for the set, which was originally due in November.

J Records tried two singles at radio, in hopes of setting up the album. The first track, "All Eyez On Me," reached No. 32 on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip Hop Singles & Tracks chart; while the second, "Too Hood," only managed a No. 11 placing on the Bubbling Under on Hot R&B/Hip Hop Singles & Tracks tally.

Monica's last album, 1998's "The Boy Is Mine," peaked at No. 8 on The Billboard 200 and has sold 2 million copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan.