Chart Beat Chat

Fred and his readers discuss the Sugababes, personal charts, T-Pain and more!


Hi, Fred.

Knowing your love of Europop, I figured you must be a fan of the Sugababes, who achieved their sixth U.K. No. 1 single with "About You Now," an amazing song!
My question is about their jump from 35-1 on the U.K. singles chart. We have seen a lot of press about the massive leaps of "Umbrella" and "SexyBack" and such on the Hot 100, but what is the biggest leap in U.K. history?

I think it's this single -- well, at least in the time I've been comparing charts on both sides of the Atlantic.

Benjamin Daniel Rosch
Minneapolis, Minn.

Dear Benjamin,

I do like the Sugababes. Their single "Push the Button" made my year-end top 10 in 2005 and I'm looking forward to the release of their new CD.

For years, the record for the biggest jump to No. 1 on the U.K. singles chart was the 33-1 leap of "Happy Talk" by Captain Sensible in 1982. And yes, it's the same "Happy Talk" that you know from Rodgers and Hammerstein's "South Pacific" and the same Captain Sensible who was a member of the Damned. It's a great single and it's on my iPod.

In 2001, "Hey Baby" by DJ Otzi soared 45-1 with "Hey Baby," a remake of the Bruce Channel hit that went to No. 1 on the Hot 100 in 1962. This chart feat has an asterisk, however, as the song charted as an import at No. 45 and went to No. 1 the following week as a domestic U.K. release.


Hi Fred,

This is for Tom Eash, who asked about websites of readers' personal music charts. I've also been keeping my own charts for about 20 years, and here is my favorite site:

This site actually compiles personal charts from all over the world into its own top 100, and I have found some really great hidden gems by visiting the site every week.

You can also submit your own chart each week for inclusion in the big chart. There are many links to other peoples' charts, and links to some other great websites which delve into hit-worthy music which gets ignored by top 40 radio.


Michael E. Dreitzler

Dear Michael,

Thanks for the info about the top hits site. Tom Eash's e-mail about personal charts inspired some other readers to write in as well. Keep reading.


Hello Fred,

I just read the letter from Tom Eash about personal charts as well as your comments about your own experience.

How odd: I, too, created charts for myself when I was in my teens, not as young as 14 but around 16. I kept all the data by hand in a thick common-place book, with weekly and yearly summary charts. My friends thought me odd, but we all were music crazy - and still are. It is nice to read that maybe I was not that odd after all!

Growing up in England it was difficult to get Billboard regularly (it was the early '60s). However, I tracked down the office of Cash Box in London and received a copy of their top 100 for the remainder of my grammar school years.

As family life took over I gave up personal charts, except for the "compilation" type that Nick Hornby highlighted in his novel "High Fidelity."

There is no point to this e-mail, just wanted to share a similar experience and let you know how much I enjoy your column.

Michael Lavalette
Halifax, Nova Scotia

Dear Michael,

You made enough of a point that I wanted to post your e-mail in Chart Beat Chat. Many chart fans who kept their own personal charts felt isolated until they discovered other people were doing the same thing. Like your notebook, the experience turned out to be very "common."


Dear Fred,

I saw [the e-mail about personal charts] and was amazed that I was not the only person who had a weekly chart. I began to look for a website to help the person who sent the e-mail. I found websites with the owners' top 100 songs, but not anything that was really user-interactive. So I made a website of my own that is an online community for people with personal charts.

The first 20 people get the option of me posting their charts on the website, and there is a forum for people to post their personal charts and to discuss them. The forums are also for other chatting. The link is for anyone who is interested in visiting it.


William Raney
Carmi, Ill.

Dear William,

Thanks for your comments and for creating a place where people keeping their own personal charts can go to interact. No one who compiles their own personal chart ever needs to feel like they are the only person in the world undertaking this weekly task, thanks to websites like yours.



Last week someone mentioned T-Pain having three adjacent singles on the Hot 100 at Nos. 16, 17 and 18 and you wondered if anyone would match the Beatles' feat of having five adjacent singles on the chart.

T-Pain doesn't have five adjacent singles on the chart but he does have five with the three songs he's featured on (Plies' "Shawty," Baby Bash's "Cyclone" and Kanye West's "Good Life") and two of his own ("Bartender" and "Buy U a Drank (Shawty Snappin')"). He's also featured on the new Fabolous single, "Baby Dont Go," but some stations are playing a version which features Jermaine Dupri, so I don't know if this counts as a sixth Hot 100 single for him. He also has a new song with Chris Brown, "Kiss Kiss." What is the highest number of singles an artist has had on the Hot 100 at the same time?

Tarrell Vazquez
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Dear Tarrell,

The Chris Brown song you mentioned, "Kiss Kiss," advances 55-35 in its fourth chart week. And T-Pain is one of the featured artists on DJ Khaled's "I'm So Hood," which climbs 75-61. "Baby Don't Go" is credited to Fabolous featuring Jermaine Dupri, so that song doesn't count, but T-Pain still has seven songs on the Hot 100.

The record was set in 1964, though, and seems unbreakable. The Beatles had 14 songs on the chart at the same time.


Hey Fred,

I always enjoy reading your Chart Beat Chat column. I've been following it for some time now. I don't remember seeing an answer to this question I have concerning iTunes purchases, but I could be mistaken.

Do multiple purchases on iTunes count toward sales figures? I know iTunes has something in place to prevent you from making the mistake of purchasing the same album/single twice or multiple times. However, if you do end up buying an item multiple times, do all of your purchases count and are they figured into the sales figures? For example, if I bought a single two or three times, would every purchase count or would they only count the first purchase from my account? Thanks in advance!

Dan Aupperle
New Jersey

Dear Dan,

Buying a track two times would count as two sales. There could be a number of reasons you would want to buy the same song twice (maybe you want to have it on 10 different computers). However, if you were to buy a track, let's say, oh, 800 times, that would be considered an anomaly and would not count. So it's not possible to rig the charts by buying the same track an exorbitant amount of times. The same has always been true of physical records as well.

I know someone who purchased several hundred copies of the same CD single a few years ago to give out as gifts, and was surprised to find out that sale was not counted for the charts. I explained to her later that her sale must have been considered an anomaly, and possible chart-rigging, although that wasn't her intent. Perhaps if she had purchased 10 singles each at 80 different stores she would have made an impact on the charts, but I don't think she had the time or energy.


Hi, Fred!

There are several forthcoming albums - from the Eagles long awaited new studio album at Wal-Mart to Olivia Newton-John's "Christmas Wish" at Target -- that will not appear on The Billboard 200 regardless of how well they sell since they will be exclusive to one retailer. They will, however, be eligible to chart on the Top Comprehensive Albums chart. Why can't exclusive albums chart on The Billboard 200? Exclusive tracks can chart on the Hot 100 - for example, Carrie Underwood's recent top 10 hit, "I'll Stand By You," was only available on iTunes. Why does Billboard chart exclusive albums differently?

Thanks for reading and I look forward to your reply.

Dan White
New York, N.Y.

Dear Dan,

To get a "comprehensive" answer to your question, I turned to Billboard's director of charts and senior analyst, Geoff Mayfield.
Here is Geoff's detailed reply:

"The decision to exclude proprietary titles from The Billboard 200 and the bulk of our album charts was one that Billboard and Nielsen SoundScan reached in consultation with labels and retailers. At the time the policy was formulated, most labels were not eager to call attention to compilations or one-off artist sets that they had done for one specific retailer. In turn, most retailers were not eager to see chart exposure for albums they could not carry in their own stores.

"We have surveyed this issue from time to time, and with some exceptions, those sensitivities remain in play among Billboard's core readers.

"Acknowledging changes that have unfolded in the music business, Billboard and Nielsen SoundScan launched the Top Comprehensive Albums and Top Comprehensive Music Videos charts in 2003. The former includes catalog, as well as titles exclusive to particular accounts - as long as the retailer wants to expose that album's sales. On Comprehensive Music Videos, the only change from our regular music video list is the addition of proprietary titles, because that chart does not have a catalog rule, but again, the inclusion of exclusive titles is at the discretion of the retailer.

"Given the differences between e-commerce and physical retail, we do allow exclusive albums to also chart on Top Digital Albums and Top Internet Albums, as long as sales can be reported by zip code.

"Best Buy, Starbucks and iTunes have been the merchants most eager to have their exclusives appear on the comprehensive charts. Others have elected to keep their exclusives off the chart. Target used to be among them, but the chain did elect to allow its recent Collective Soul set to show up on Top Comprehensive Albums. Wal-Mart chose not to chart its Garth Brooks exclusives, nor will it chart its new Eagles set. Nielsen SoundScan is interested in collecting sold downloads from Radiohead, but we do not know yet if the band is equipped to -- or willing to -- report its sales.

"The rules for The Billboard Hot 100 have changed several times in the last 15 years due to various market conditions, not the least of these being the almost total elimination of retail-available singles. For most of the chart's history, a song could not appear on the Hot 100 unless it was available in stores, but by the late '90s, we had to change that rule, as fewer and fewer hits were released as singles. In 2005 we added digital sales, which helped bring the consumer's voice back to the chart, and in August, we added streaming and on-demand music and music video.

"Because the Hot 100 is based on different pools of information, we don't have the filters in play there that we do with the album charts. And, as the business continues to evolve, the rules for the album charts will always be subject to review and change."


Hi Fred,

I love reading your weekly column online each week. I noticed how Justin Timberlake has six top 40 singles [on the Hot 100] from his current album and the last artists to achieve this were Michael Jackson with "Dangerous" and Shania Twian with "Come On Over."

But didn't Janet Jackson's 1989 album "Rhythm Nation 1814" produce seven top five singles, four of which went to No. 1? The seven singles were "Miss You Much," "Rhythm Nation," "Escapade," "Alright," "Come Back to Me," "Black Cat" and "Love Will Never Do Without You." Is she the artist with the most singles from one album to make the top five?

Kind Regards,

Robert Burgio
Melbourne, Australia

Dear Robert,

It's true, Janet Jackson's "Rhythm Nation 1814" yielded seven top 10 hits, and all made the top five. She might have had an eighth top 10 hit from the album, but the label decided to release "State of the World" to radio only. At that time, not having a commercial single available at retail made a song ineligible for the Hot 100. "State of the World" did peak at No. 5 on the Hot 100 Airplay chart.

The focus of the item about Justin Timberlake was about the six top 40 singles from "FutureSex/LoveSounds," so Janet's accomplishment wasn't mentioned. But to answer your question, I can't think of any other artist who has pulled seven top five hits from one album. Two artists have come close - Michael Jackson had seven top 10 hits from "Thriller" and Bruce Springsteen had seven top 10 hits from "Born in the U.S.A."

Speaking of Justin's accomplishment and Michael's "Thriller," see the next e-mail.


Hi Fred!

With the remarkable news of Justin Timberlake's feat in scoring six top 40 hits from "FutureSex/LoveSounds," I was reminded of the record-setting power of Michael Jackson's "P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)." It became his sixth top 10 from "Thriller" - with the title track giving him a total of seven.

On this week's Hot 100, "P.Y.T." is back at No. 10 where it originally peaked, this time sampled in the song "Good Life" by Kanye West featuring T-Pain.

Pablo Nelson
Berkeley, Calif.

Dear Pablo,

We'll have to wait and see if "Good Life" continues its upward movement, making the song that samples "P.Y.T." a bigger hit than the original.