Ask Billboard

Keith answers readers' questions on Ashley Alexandra Dupre, American Idol and Billboard chart policies.

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


Hi Keith,

I was wondering why Ashley Alexandra Dupre's song did not appear anywhere on a chart this week. She is, of course, the prostitute who helped bring down former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer.

It was widely reported that in the days following the news, her song was downloaded about 300,000 times, netting her a lot of money. Wouldn't that get her to the top of The Billboard Hot 100 even with negligible airplay? Or is this a case of "If it's not a major label, it doesn't count."

What gives?

Kevin Hall
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Hi Kevin,

I'm not sure what story you read, as you didn't cite where you had seen this article. However, I know the New York Daily News ran a piece about this topic, but one could have easily been misled by the story.

In the story "Ashley Dupre Cashing in With Downloads of Her Songs," it stated: "More than 300,000 people have listened to Ashley Alexandra Dupre's music on the Web site since her name emerged as the prostitute at the center of the Eliot Spitzer sex scandal."

It continued, mentioning how much each of the songs cost and how much she theoretically could earn if all 300,000 of those listeners had actually bought a download.

But the story never said that anyone had paid for Dupre's music. Amie Street's Web site lets visitors stream songs free of charge, in addition to selling downloads. As of this writing (on March 27), her page on Amie Street had racked up over 482,000 listens (not paid downloads).

Amie Street reports its sales information to Nielsen SoundScan, our sister company that collects our sales data for us. However, none of Dupre's music is found in SoundScan's database. It seems her music has never been registered with Nielsen SoundScan, which is not uncommon with many independent acts.

We reached out to Amie Street directly, to see if they could give us Dupre's sales figures. However, it is the company's policy not to disclose that information without the artist's permission.


Hi Keith,

I think this is an easy question. Can you tell me what is the biggest selling album for any "American Idol" and how much they have sold so far? Where does Daughtry stand on the list?

Thank you,

David Heath

Hi David,

This is an oldie but goodie.

The top three selling albums in the U.S. from "American Idol" contestants, according to Nielsen SoundScan, are:

Carrie Underwood's "Some Hearts" (6.3 million)
Kelly Clarkson's "Breakaway" (6 million)
Daughtry's self-titled album (3.9 million).


Hi Keith,

Is it true that Billboard doesn't really chart the top selling albums? Is it true that Billboard will take some of the albums off the list to make room for newer artists?

Thank you for your time,

Ovid, Mich.

Hi Nathan,
Billboard has two all-genre albums charts that run 200 titles deep.

The one that most people are familiar with is The Billboard 200 chart, which ranks albums based on weekly sales in the U.S.

We also have the Top Comprehensive Albums chart, which is very similar to The Billboard 200, but with a few key differences.

On The Billboard 200, we do not allow digital-exclusive albums nor catalog titles to chart. However, both can chart on the Top Comprehensive Albums chart.

What is a "catalog title" you ask? It is an album that is 18 months old, have fallen below No. 100 on The Billboard 200 chart and do not have an active single gaining in radio airplay. Catalog albums are also reissues of older sets (like Michael Jackson's recent "Thriller" redux). We have an entire chart dedicated to catalog albums, named, appropriately enough, Top Pop Catalog albums.


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