Ask Billboard

Answers to readers' questions about Janet Jackson, ABBA and Madonna.


Dear Keith:

I know you have answered many questions about Janet Jackson's latest "20 Y.O." Do you think there is any chance any future singles will be released and if she has any chance of improving the sales of this album? I know she has an upcoming performance on the Billboard Music Awards (Dec. 4 on Fox), but how much of an effect does one performance have on sales?

Since the album has many great songs such as "Enjoy," it seems such a waste for the album to go unnoticed.



Thomas J. Hall
Charlotte, N.C.

Hi Thomas,

Well, the radio promotion for "20 Y.O." isn't over yet. The album's latest single, "With U," has either just been serviced to radio stations, or is about to be. The ballad will be the third radio single from the album, following "Call on Me" (with Nelly) and "So Excited" (featuring Khia).

The impact of a TV show performance on an album can either be great (see anyone that sings on "The Oprah Winfrey Show") or not so great. It really depends on the number of people watching the show, how the performance goes and so forth. We'll see how Jackson's "Billboard Music Awards" number affects "20 Y.O.'s" sales the following week.



Christmas must be near as there are loads of greatest hits albums being released. I can see the reason for Oasis having one out -- it is their first hits compilation and will hopefully re-awaken American interest in them. There is yet another Beatles compilation, but at least it's remixed and reworked. The Depeche Mode and U2 compilations are also at least updated sets with newer songs.

However, I cannot see the point of ABBA's record company releasing "Number Ones" -- it's virtually identical to "Gold" which has already sold millions in the U.S. according to Nielsen SoundScan. Incidentally, how have their other compilations fared sales-wise? I don't ever recall seeing any of them on the Billboard album charts.

John Boylan

Hi John,

Why would a record label release a hits compilation that seems redundant? If a label can make money from it, why wouldn't they release it?

That may sound like a snarky answer, but it's the truth. Universal likely determined that there was a market for another Abba compilation and felt that it was to their advantage to release the set.

The "Number Ones" and "Gold" albums actually do differ a bit. The two albums share 16 songs, though "Ones" has "Summer Night City" and "I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do" while "Gold" has "Lay All Your Love On Me," "Does Your Mother Know" and "Thank You For The Music."

One could quibble about the tracklist, but all of the huge hits (like "Dancing Queen," "Waterloo" and "Take a Chance on Me") are present on both albums.

This isn't the first ABBA collection to come out in recent memory, either. In May, the group released a limited edition re-issue of its 1976 album "Greatest Hits." In March, a three-CD set, "Chronicles," bowed -- it gathered three studio albums from the group ("ABBA," "Arrival" and "The Album") in one tidy package. In February, we got the limited release box set import "The Complete Recordings." Then there was the July 2004 2 CD/1 DVD combination package of "Gold," which boasted all of the audio content from "Gold" and "More ABBA Gold" into one release.

But wait, there's more! 2001 was a busy year for re-releases. The 2-CD "Definitive Collection" came out in November, while all eight of the act's studio albums were remastered and reissued that year. Let's not forget the "20th Century Masters Millennium Collection" in 2000, as well as the 1999 re-release of "Oro" (an expanded version of their Spanish-language hits album). Before that, there was 1998's "Forever Gold" (now out-of-print) and 1995's four-CD box set "Thank You For The Music." In 1994, we got "Mas Oro" (a sequel to the previous year's "Oro").

1993 was the year that seemed to get the ball rolling in terms of reissue mania. Both "Gold" and "More ABBA Gold" came out that year.


Dear Keith,

I'm an avid reader of your column but this is my first time writing. I am wondering if the much-hyped NBC Madonna concert special had any positive effects on Madonna's "Confessions On a Dance Floor" album sales or any of her other albums? I know "Confessions" has sold about 1.6 million, but I am wondering if the show gave it a (much-deserved) kick.


Patrick Scott
Los Angeles

Hi Patrick,

This column could be "Ask Billboard... About Madonna" sometimes, for as many questions as I answer about her. But it's no secret I'm a fan, so I always welcome the questions.

Following Madonna's "Confessions Live" concert special on NBC, sales of the album shot up 120%. However, its sales were not enough to enable it to re-enter The Billboard 200. Sales of her hits packages "The Immaculate Collection," "Something to Remember" and "GHV2: Greatest Hits Volume 2" were also up significantly in sales.

So far, the "Confessions" album has sold 1.6 million copies in the U.S. according to Nielsen SoundScan.


The Biz premium subscriber content has moved to

To simplify subscriber access, we have temporarily disabled the password requirement.