Ask Billboard

Keith answers readers' questions on top 40 radio, "The Simpsons" soundtrack and mega-selling albums.

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



I look at the charts each week and notice that (the kinds of) songs that may have hit No. 1, say a year ago, are barely making it to the top 50 on The Billboard Hot 100. When listening to the radio, I notice top 40 stations seem to be playing less R&B and hip-hop since the heyday of 50 Cent's "In Da Club" or Usher's "Yeah."

I look at Beyonce's very radio-friendly album "B'Day" and am shocked to see only one single hit No. 1, yet most of the songs have been more successful on just the R&B charts.

Am I making a connection at all or is it just in my mind? Is pop radio turning its back on R&B for a more distinct pop rock sound?

Voorhees, N.J.

Hi Adam,

I don't think Top 40 radio is turning its back on R&B. They may just be more interested in those songs that straddle the worlds of R&B and rap ¬ say, tunes by Akon or T-Pain or Sean Kingston, which blend hip-hop beats with singing.

So far in 2007, out of the 13 songs that have reached No. 1 on The Billboard Hot 100, only one was a rap song: Mims' "This Is Why I'm Hot." Two were clearly pop songs -- Avril Lavigne's "Girlfriend" and Plain White T's "Hey There Delilah" -- while the rest were either rhythmic/R&B numbers or songs that flirted with hip-hop beats.

At the same point in 2006, three rap songs had reached No. 1: "Grillz" by Nelly featuring Paul Wall, Ali and Gipp; "Temperature" by Sean Paul and "Ridin'" by Chamilionaire featuring Krayzie Bone.

Through the week ending July 29, 2007, year to date rap album sales were down by 31% compared to the same time frame of 2006. To compare, R&B album sales (not factoring in rap sales) are actually up by 10%.

Of the top 30 selling albums this year, 11 are R&B. They include Akon's "Konvicted," Justin Timberlake's "FutureSex/LoveSounds" and Robin Thicke's "The Evolution of Robin Thicke." Of those, there was only one true rap album -- T.I.'s "T.I. Vs. T.I.P."

Through the same point of 2006, eight R&B albums were in the top 30 sellers. Of those, two were rap albums, by T.I. and Eminem.

If we rewind back to 2004, through the same period, there were 12 R&B albums in the top 30 sellers. Of those, however, a whopping seven were rap albums. The rap sets included offerings from Jay-Z, Chingy, G-Unit, D12 and Twista.


Dear Keith,

I noticed a while back Billboard mentioned how Green Day had recorded "The Simpsons" theme song for the new movie. I've also found a score CD for "The Simpsons Movie" by Hans Zimmer -- but will there be a soundtrack with more than the score? I thought I'd read somewhere there will be but have had no luck finding it. If not, will the song only be available as a download?


Nick Simon

Hello Nick,

Green Day's version is only available as a digital download from your favorite digital retailer. It was not licensed to Extreme/Adrenaline (the record labels that released "The Simpsons Movie" soundtrack) for release on the soundtrack album.

In other news, on Sept. 18, Shout! Factory will release "The Simpsons
Testify: A Whole Lot More Original Music from the Television Series" on Sept. 18. The album collects memorable "Simpsons" music from seasons 10-18.

It features such songs as "He's the Man" (featuring Shawn Colvin), "The Simpsons" end credits theme (by Los Lobos), "Homer & Marge" (featuring "Weird Al" Yankovic), "Marjorie" (featuring Jackson Browne), "Glove Slap" (featuring The B-52's) and of course, "Who Wants a Haircut?" (featuring Baha Men).



Since SoundScan began tabulating sales data (in 1991), what are the albums that have surpassed 10 million in sales? And, what are their current sales figures?


Roberto Matta

Hello Roberto,

Since SoundScan began tracking sales in 1991, there have been 16 albums that have sold 10 million or more in the U.S. Here they are, in order of greatest sales.

Shania Twain, "Come On Over"
Metallica, "Metallica"
Alanis Morissette, "Jagged Little Pill"
Backstreet Boys, "Millennium"
Soundtrack, "The Bodyguard"
Santana, "Supernatural"
Creed, "Human Clay"
NSYNC, "No Strings Attached"
Beatles, "1"
Celine Dion, "Falling Into You"
Britney Spears, "Baby One More Time"
Norah Jones, "Come Away With Me"
Hootie and the Blowfish, "Cracked Rear View"
Soundtrack, "Titanic"
Backstreet Boys, "Backstreet Boys"
Eminem, "The Marshall Mathers LP"

"Come on Over" has sold 15.4 million while "Metallica" stands at 15 million.

Collectively, these 16 albums have sold 185,866,000.


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