Chart Beat Chat: Catalog Charts, ABBA, Record Players

Fred and his readers discuss the catalog charts, ABBA and vinyl and record players.


Dear Fred,

I noticed that Buckcherry's "15" remained on The Billboard 200 after falling below No. 100 even though it had been on the chart over two years/104 weeks. A couple of weeks later, Three Days Grace's "One-X" remained on the chart after falling below No. 100 and charting over 104 weeks. Last week, Carrie Underwood's "Some Hearts" remained on the chart after falling below No. 100 and charting for well over 130 weeks.

Have the criteria for what is a catalog album and what is a current album been changed, or is this a now repeated oversight by the chart department?


Brian C. Cole
Gulf Shores, AL

Hi Fred

I'm a big fan of your column and your books. I know it's chart policy that when an album has been on the chart for two or more years and falls below No. 100, it moves to the Top Pop Catalog Albums chart, so my question is how can three titles with more than 104 weeks be on that chart the week of July 12: Carrie Underwood's "Some Hearts," Three Days Grace's "One-X" and Buckcherry's "15"?

Thank you.

Mariano Arangua
Mexico City

Dear Brian and Mariano,

You were just two of several readers who wrote in asking about chart policy for albums being moved from The Billboard 200 to Top Pop Catalog Albums. To get an authoritative answer, I turned to Billboard's director of charts and senior analyst, Geoff Maydfield. Geoff also manages The Billboard 200, and here is what he had to say:

"Your sharp-eyed readers caught a technical glitch that delayed by one week an album's appropriate move to catalog status, but the other two titles remain on the chart by virtue of a stipulation regarding airplay activity. And, the questions you've received also make it clear that some chart fans are not aware of a revision we implemented earlier this year.

"Carrie Underwood's first album was supposed to move to catalog on the chart dated July 12. However, for reasons unknown, the title did not show up on an automatically-generated report that helps us identify when titles pass certain catalog parameters. We're trouble-shooting that process now to avoid similar errors happening in the future.

"The Buckcherry and Three Days Grace albums remain on The Billboard 200 because of a stipulation for records represented by a current song that is showing growth at one of the radio formats tracked by Billboard or sister magazine Radio and Records. If those albums don't rank at No. 100 or higher when their singles run their course, the titles will then move to catalog status.

"What some of your readers haven't learned yet, apparently, is that at the encouragement of labels and retailers, Billboard revised its catalog standard at the start of 2008 from two-years-old to 18 months. Thus, the typical chart life has shifted from 104 weeks to 78 weeks.

"As with the original catalog rule, albums remain on the current charts as long as they remain above No. 100 and don't have a current track growing at radio."


Hi Fred,

I just finished listening to your guest DJ stint on Sirius' ABBA radio and I had the feeling that you'd be doing a countdown. I loved the inside info and I have to say that I got the three-day trial of Sirius pretty much to hear your hour and your interview with Bjorn [Ulvaeus] and Benny [Andersson].

I have my own top 10 and we share a few. Mine, in order of preference from 10 to 1, are:

10. "The Day Before You Came"
9. "When All Is Said and Done"
8. "I Am the City"
7. "Knowing Me, Knowing You"
6. "That's Me"
5. "The Name of the Game"
4. "Fernando"
3. "SOS"
2. "The Winner Takes It All"
1. "Waterloo"

Thanks for keeping the ABBA flag flying and Chart Beat going for all these years. It's always a pleasure to read you.

Jim Stevens
Rensselaer, N.Y.

Dear Jim,

Great countdown! I wish I could get you a gig as a Guest DJ on Sirius' ABBA Radio, which is running for just two weeks. My top 10 aired on July 10, so for those who missed it, I'll count down my top 10 favorite ABBA songs in a moment.

I hope you enjoy my interview with Benny and Bjorn, which is airing three times today (Friday, July 11). We sat down for three hours at the Sirius studios in New York and covered a wide variety of topics during our exclusive interview.

Upcoming on Sirius: my interviews with Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Christine Baranski, Dominic Cooper and Amanda Seyfried from the cast of the "Mamma Mia!" movie, director Phyllida Lloyd, producers Gary Goetzman and Judy Craymer, as well as film director Lasse Halstrom, who directed all but two of ABBA's music videos; Swedish concert promoter Thomas Johansson; screenwriter/playwright Catherine Johnson and Gorel Hanser, who went to work for ABBA manager Stig Anderson in 1969 and has worked with the group and the individual members ever since, as Vice President of Polar Music and now through her own company.

And now to prove Jim's point that we share some ABBA favorites (three), here is my top 10:

10. "Waterloo"
9. "Me And Bobby and Bobby's Brother"
8. "Soldiers"
7. "When I Kissed the Teacher"
6. "Dancing Queen"
5. "Our Last Summer"
4. "I Am the City"
3. "Super Trouper"
2. "Angeleyes"
1. "Knowing Me, Knowing You"


Hi Fred,

I enjoy Chart Beat and Chart Beat Chat immensely! (And you have been gracious enough to give me space in Chart Beat Chat more than once.) But you might never guess that one of my favorite parts is finding out what cute play-on-words you will use as the title of each e-mail. For example, "Ehhh, What's Up Charts?" - that was priceless. Thank-you Fred – and congrats on being born the day the first vinyl single was released.

I still collect vinyl singles and play them on my RCA 45 EY-2 player, which cost maybe $19 in 1954, but cost me over 10 times that to have it restored to mint condition. Do you collect record players as well? I guess that's a rhetorical question, since you only answer the ones that get printed – LOL.

David Brosius
Brookville, Penn.

Dear David,

I do have a working turntable, but I don't collect record players. That's probably a good thing, as I ran out of room to collect anything else years ago.

Thank you for acknowledging the headlines on the letters in Chart Beat Chat. I have to admit I enjoy the wordplay. Sometimes they come easy but once in a while I have to spend more time on the headlines than on my replies. Not this time, though.