Ask Billboard

Keith answers readers' questions about Lauryn Hill, The Cranberries' Dolores O'Riordan, and how CD's that are sold at concert venues are monitored.

Cranberries Solo Please!


I just read that Cranberries' singer Dolores O'Riordan will be releasing her first solo album on May 15 in North America. I heard the first single on her MySpace page and it is really great. I was wondering what you think her chances of having any success in North America are?

Also, how many albums have the Cranberries sold in the U.S.?

Thanks so much!

Ryan Gibson

Hi Ryan,

Indeed, Dolores O'Riordan's solo debut, "Are You Listening?," will arrive in the U.S. on May 15 through Sanctuary Records. In Europe it streets on May 7 while Japan and Australia get the album on May 12.

The set was written and recorded over the past four years and is led by the first single, "Ordinary Day." The song, written about the birth of her third child, has yet to impact U.S. radio. For the week ending March 19, no
monitored American stations had played the song. What are the album's chances for success? Well, not having radio play your song is a bit worrisome. Though, there is still a sizable gap of time between now and when the album arrives, so things could brighten up for the single.

The Cranberries' last studio album, 2001's "Wake Up and Smell the Coffee," has sold 170,000 in the U.S. according to Nielsen SoundScan. In 2002, the band also released "Stars - The Best of 1992-2002." It has sold 322,000 in America.

The group is best known for its numerous early and mid-'90s hits like "Dreams," "Linger" and "Zombie." Those three tunes all made the top 20 on Billboard's Alternative/Modern Rock chart while the act also scored five more top 20 hits. The Cranberries' best selling album is 1994's "No Need To Argue," which has sold 4.1 million in the U.S. The previous year's set, "Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can't We?" has shifted 3.2 million. 1996's "To The Faithful Departed" has sold 1.7 million while 1999's "Bury The Hatchet" has moved 377,000.

Lauryn Hill Unplugs

Hi Keith!

About a year ago you answered my question about the impending Fugees reunion album, which was long delayed but still looked like it may happen. Obviously that wasn't the case.

Recently the Apple iTunes Music Store added Lauryn Hill's "Doo Wop (That Thing)" video, which I instantly purchased, but got to wondering: What the hell happened? This was a mega-star in the making and a woman who, aside from Alanis Morissette, was one of the most important female voices of the '90s. Yet no follow up record, aside from "MTV Unplugged", was ever released. Not to mention, numerous cancelled appearances and rumors of erratic behavior have left her fans wondering if she'll ever return.

Is there any word on a follow up record or any new music from Ms. Hill?

Thanks Keith!

Brian Davis

Hi Brian,

Yes, it seems that the once-simmering Fugees reunion isn't in the cards right now. While the act did tour for a
brief time in late 2005, and even released a single ("Take It Easy"), a new album never materialized.

As for Lauryn Hill, she herself is taking it easy - at least in terms of releasing new material. She was supposed to have performed at Prince's 3121 club at the Rio in Las Vegas recently, but was a no-show. But then, sitting here on my desk, is Joss Stone's new album, which features Lauryn Hill on the song "Music." So, it's not like she's completely out of the music game.

So ... what to make of all this? Good question. There is no official word from Hill's record label, Columbia, about what she's working on. They are likely just as out-of-the-loop as the rest of the public. They, like us, are simply waiting for Hill to announce her return.

The Rosemary Hustle


In January, I attended a Rosemary Clooney tribute concert at New York's 92nd Street Y ("The Last Girl Singer: Rosemary Clooney ... And Her Way With Words").

Outside the auditorium, the show's artists were selling copies of their CDs. I recently noted that one of the show's stars, John Pizzarelli, was charting on Top Jazz Albums. This led me to wonder how sales are tracked for CDs sold at concerts. Are these sales monitored at all by Soundscan?

I am particularly interested in knowing how another one of the show's stars, Debby Boone (Clooney's daughter-in-law), has fared with her "Reflections of Rosemary" CD. Boone (yes, Debby "You Light Up My Life" Boone) has been promoting this CD for two years, but I have not seen it appear on any jazz chart yet.


Mark Kleck
New York

Hi Mark,

Venue sales by many artists and labels are reported to Nielsen SoundScan. However, not all albums sold at concert venues are reported.

Though, I did check on Debby Boone's "Reflections of Rosemary" album and I noticed that during the week ending January 7 (the week she played the "Last Girl Singer" show) the album saw a spike in venue sales.

All told, her album has sold 10,000 copies in the U.S. according to Nielsen SoundScan. The 2005 release has never appeared on any Billboard chart. It perhaps did not reach any of our jazz albums lists because it's not a jazz album? I'll certainly make our jazz charts manager aware of the set and have him look into it.