Ask Billboard: Best Selling Debut Album, Dido, Australian Acts Trying To Crack The U.S. Market

Keith answers questions about the best selling debut album, Dido, Australian acts trying to crack the U.S. market and more!

Ask Billboard is updated every Friday. Submit your burning music questions to Keith Caulfield at Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S.



Some time ago, I recall that someone asked you a question regarding (what is) the best selling debut album. Some of the possible answers included albums by Hootie and the Blowfish, Alanis Morissette and a few others.

The true answer that you gave was the debut album by Boston with 17 million sold.

Now I'm seeing a different answer on the Billboard Web site. If you look on the RIAA section on the Billboard Web site and scroll down a bit, it states that Guns N' Roses' debut album "Appetite for Destruction" was certified (by the Recording Industry Association of America) at 18 million units sold on Sept 23, 2008. Can you verify this? Can Guns N' Roses lay claim to the best selling debut album?

Walter Brockmann

Hello Walter,

Indeed, Guns N' Roses does now hold the title of having the biggest selling debut album in the U.S.

The Recording Industry Association of America certified "Appetite for Destruction" on Sept. 23 for shipping 18 million copies to retailers.

Previously, the album was certified at 15 million.

So, "Appetite" overtakes Boston's self-titled debut (with 17 million) as the best selling debut album.

I last wrote about this topic back in August, when Boston was still tops.



I've noted a lack of advance hype in the media over Dido's upcoming album (due in November). While other higher profile artist albums seem to be getting lots of attention (Britney Spears, come on down!), Dido's long-awaited album is getting little or none.

My understanding, and correct me if I am wrong, was that Dido's two previous albums ("No Angel" and "Life for Rent") rank among the best-selling albums by female artists so far this decade. Aside from my own anticipation for her new disc, where's the Dido love?

John Farrell

Hello John,

Dido has never really struck me as the type of artist the either requires or elicits a media frenzy, a la Britney Spears. Not that Dido doesn't warrant attention, but some may think her music speaks for itself.

That said, her new album, "Safe Trip Home," isn't due until Nov. 3, so expect more press coverage in the coming weeks, and through the rest of the year. Unlike some albums, where their success depends on a flurry of media attention and sales activity in their first month of release, Dido's efforts are slow-and-steady-wins-the-race affairs.

For example, her last album, 2003's "Life For Rent," has sold 2.1 million in the U.S. according to Nielsen SoundScan. However, only 23% of its overall sales came in its first month of release. The album spent a solid 47 weeks on the Billboard 200 after its debut at No. 4 with 192,000.

Compare that to, because you mentioned her, Britney Spears. Her last album, October 2007's "Blackout," has sold 902,000. The set's first month of release accounted for a whopping 52% of its total sales.


Hey Keith,

A few weeks ago you answered a question about British acts trying to crack the U.S. market. As an Australian music fan I'm interested in how some of our most popular acts are doing in the U.S.

I know that Delta Goodrem, Missy Higgins and the Veronicas have all recently released albums or singles (in the U.S.) and I'd love to know how many copies each act's latest album has sold.

I'd also love to know how (these singles are doing): Goodrem's "In This Life," Higgins' "Where I Stood" and the Veronicas' "Untouched."

John Rowley
Sydney, Australia

Hi John,

So far, Goodrem's "Delta" album, released in July, has sold 21,000 in the U.S. according to Nielsen SoundScan. Her single, "In This Life," rises to a new chart high of No. 21 this week on the Adult Top 40 chart.

Higgins' "On a Clear Night" has sold 49,000 since it was released back in October 2007. On the Adult Contemporary singles chart, her "Where I Stood"
peaked at No. 22.

"Hook Me Up," the Veronicas' latest album, has shifted 18,000. The set was released in May and recently spawned the hit single "Untouched," which re-entered the Pop 100 this week (Oct. 11 chart date) at No. 95.