Ask Billboard

This week, Keith answers questions about music videos, Janet and top-selling albums.

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


Dear Keith,

Janet Jackson has a new single out, "Feedback," and a new album, "Discipline," due next month.

This is the first album since "Control" without Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis on board writing and producing. Her last top 10 Billboard Hot 100 hit was way back in 2001 with "Someone to Call My Lover."

Radio seems wary of adding her to their play lists, a far cry from 10 years ago. Add to that a new record label. Do you think that Janet can return to the top of the charts?

I hold out much hope as I believe her to be a dynamic performer/singer.
Also, how many copies of her last two albums have sold to date?

Thanks for your time!


Charlotte, N.C.

Hi Thom,

For the week ending Tuesday, Jan. 8, "Feedback" garnered 13 million in radio audience from the 1,308 stations that make up the Hot 100 Airplay chart.
That was a gain of 20% as compared to the previous week. It seems to be doing so-so thus far. We'll have to wait a few weeks to see if the single will catch on. The video for the tune recently debuted, so that may fuel interest in the song as well.

"Feedback" debuted on The Billboard Hot 100 two weeks ago. This week, the song moves up to No. 52. It's her 40th or 41st single to reach the chart, depending on how you count her singles.

Why the confusion?

The 1987 Herb Alpert single "Diamonds," which featured Jackson's vocals, was a hit on both the Hot 100 and the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.

However, on the Hot 100 chart, Alpert was the only artist to receive credit.
To further complicate matters, on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, "Diamonds" was initially only credited to Alpert, though that changed once "Diamonds" hit No. 1 on the R&B list.

That week, the artist credit switched to "Herb Alpert featuring Janet Jackson" ¬ but only on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.

So, officially, "Diamonds" is a Jackson single ¬ but only on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. Not on The Billboard Hot 100.

Ok, ok, back to the question you actually asked!

Can Jackson return to the top of the charts? Well, sure, why not? If the single grows at radio and sells well digitally, it certainly has a shot at No. 1 on The Billboard Hot 100.

Her last two albums, 2004's "Damita Jo" and 2006's "20 Y.O.," have sold 999,000 and 679,000 in the U.S., respectively, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

For more Jackson, make sure to check out the Jan. 19, 2007 issue of Billboard where we've got a great feature on Miss Janet and the new album.



Please help resolve a bar bet. What was the last song to reach No. 1 (on The Billboard Hot 100) without a video and what was the first to reach No. 1 with a video?

K.A. Hughes RA


Oh boy, this is a fun question.

The first part is easy to answer. Unless we are completely mistaken, the last Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 single not to have an official music video was Taylor Hicks' "Do I Make You Proud" in 2006.

What was the first No. 1 Hot 100 single to have a music video? Well, music videos have been produced for singles as far back as at least 1958, so that's a tough one.

To explain this, I've excerpted a bit of Fred Bronson's "The Billboard Book of Number One Hits" below. The quote is lifted from Bronson's story of the Platters' 1958 hit "Twilight Time."

"A month later, Mercury made another important announcement involving a Platters single. From the July 14 (1958) issue of Billboard: 'Mercury Records is quietly working on a new technique for getting plugs via the mushrooming media of TV platter shows... The label has produced two three-minute films, one of the Platters and one of the Diamonds, performing their current plug tunes (singles), which they will rush to make available to a list of almost 200 TV deejays... Ed Sullivan had offered to buy the Platters' film for several thousand dollars... (Mercury) decided not to sell, but reap its value by giving it away to the afternoon teen programs.'

And so was born the music video."

As you can imagine, it's a bit difficult to figure out what was the very first Hot 100 No. 1 to have an accompanying music video. Billboard did not track which charting singles also had a promotional music video until the Oct. 20, 1984 chart. On that week's Hot 100, only 22 of the entries didn't have a music video. The highest ranked one was Bruce Springsteen's "Cover Me" at No. 7.


Hi Keith,

I have a very straightforward question: what are the top 10 (selling) albums during Nielsen SoundScan era? I imagine that Alanis Morissette, Hootie and the Blowfish and Norah Jones are in this list.

Have an excellent 2008!

Best regards,

Valdir Moreira
Sao Paulo, Brazil

Hi Valdir,

Easy enough. Here are the top 10 selling albums according to Nielsen SoundScan since the company began tracking data in 1991.

1. Shania Twain, "Come on Over" (15.4 million)
2. Metallica, Metallica" (15.1)
3. Alanis Morissette, "Jagged Little Pill" (14.6)
4. Backstreet Boys, "Millennium" (12.1)
5. Soundtrack, "The Bodyguard" (11.8)
6. Santana, "Supernatural" (11.6)
7. Creed, "Human Clay" (11.5)
8. NSYNC, "No Strings Attached" (11.1)
9. The Beatles, "1" (11.1)
10. Celine Dion, "Falling Into You" (10.8)

Norah Jones and Hootie and the Blowfish are just outside the top 10 with their respective albums "Come Away With Me" (No. 12) and "Cracked Rear View" (No. 13).


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