Ask Billboard

Keith answers readers' questions on Madonna, Enrique Iglesias and Kelly Rowland.

Ask Billboard is updated every Friday. Submit your burning music questions to Keith Caulfield at


Hi Keith,

Madonna's new video "4 Minutes" made its world premiere April 3 on iTunes, amidst lots of hype at the online digital store. This begs the question: do music video sales at iTunes (or any other digital retailer) count toward the charts, specifically the Hot 100?

At first, I didn't think so, but then I realized that video streams, along with their audio counterpart, count toward the Hot 100. Furthermore, video/DVD singles count toward the chart, so why not music video sales at digital sites?

On the flip side, though, music video airplay (on TV networks) does not count toward the Hot 100. So, I'd appreciate it if you could clear this one up for the avid chart fans out there. Thanks.

Jim Radenhausen
Stroudsburg, Penn.

Hi Jim,

Silvio Pietrolungo, who manages the Billboard Hot 100, responds:

"It has been discussed. At the moment, since iTunes is the sole digital retailer (or at the very least the primary vendor) of video downloads, they have been reluctant to provide us that information since it would reveal sales numbers for only their company. And the feeling was mutual on our end as we do not utilize any data streams which come solely from one retailer."

So, hopefully that clears it up for you Jim! Now, if only other retailers started selling video downloads, then maybe music video clip sales could be factored into the Hot 100.


Hi Keith,

I'm a big fan of Enrique Iglesias and every article we the fans read about him states that over the course of his 13-year career he has sold over 40 million albums worldwide. However, we never got the actual numbers.

I would be grateful if you could tell me the exact number of how many he has sold. In two months from now it is going to be a year since his latest album in English, "Insomniac," came out. How much has it sold so far?

Thanks a bunch!

Shimrit Keren

Hello Shimrit,

Unfortunately, there is not one organization that collects actual, verifiable worldwide music sales. In the U.S., Billboard's sister company Nielsen SoundScan collects U.S. sales data and we use that information to compile our weekly charts. However, there is not an independent company that does the same thing for global sales.

Generally, we have to rely on an artist's record label when it comes to determining global sales. Of course, because we can't verify a global sales number, we always make sure to phrase such statements like: "His record label says that he has sold X million worldwide," that way, our readers understand that the record label provided us with the figures.

In the June 9, 2007 issue of Billboard, we devoted an entire special section to Iglesias. In the "Crossover King" story about him, it says: "Iglesias has rung up around 40 million units in worldwide sales, according to his management company the Firm, since his first album, 'Enrique Iglesias,' dropped in 1995. His sales figures are almost evenly split between his Spanish-and English-language titles, although he has cut five Spanish CDs to three English discs."

Note that the quote reads "40 million units." That could mean albums and singles, combined.

That said, in the U.S., Iglesias has sold 8.8 million albums over the course of his career according to SoundScan. His last studio release, "Insomniac," has sold 236,000 in America.



We all know that the ladies of Destiny's Child have had the own successful solo careers. With the re-release of Kelly Rowland's sophomore album "Ms. Kelly," do you think the album will re-chart base solely on digital sales?

Jaren Tucker

Hi Jaren,

Let's bring everyone up to speed on "Ms. Kelly."

Rowland released a digital-only album on March 18 titled "Ms. Kelly: Diva Deluxe." It's less of a re-release of her "Ms. Kelly" album and more of a full-fledged new EP, really. This new digital set contains seven tracks -- five new songs and two remixes of tunes found on the original "Ms. Kelly" album.

So far, the digital-only album has moved just under 1,000 downloads in its two weeks of release. It has yet to chart on the Top Digital Albums chart.

The original version of "Ms. Kelly" has sold 213,000 in the U.S. according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Over in the U.K., Rowland is experiencing quite a bit of success, thanks to the Freemasons remix of her single "Work." The song peaked at No. 4 on the Official U.K. Singles Chart earlier this year. Her "Ms. Kelly" album is due for a re-release in that country as well.


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