Ask Billboard

Answers to readers' questions about the Hives, re-issues and more.


Dear Keith,

I was wondering what the record sales for the Hives latest album, "Tyrannosaurus Hives" was in Canada and the U.S. Are there any sites online that have album sales for indie or underground bands?


Garret Barton,
Calgary, AB, Canada

Hi Garret,

"Tyrannosaurus Hives" has sold 176,000 in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan, a drop from the 416,000 that the band moved with its 2000 album "Veni Vedi Vicious."

SoundScan is the authority in America with regards to music sales; the company does not have a Web site that is available to the general public.


Hi Keith,

What is up with the current trend of artists and labels re-releasing hit CDs by bulking them up with more songs?

This is frustrating to fans like myself who buy CDs on their release dates and then find out that two or three months later, a new track has been added, or in some cases, several new tracks.

So far, I have not succumbed to buying these updated releases after being content with the originals, such as Mariah Carey's "Emancipation of Mimi," Sheryl Crow's "Wildflower," Daniel Powter's self-titled set and Shakira's "Oral Fixation Vol. 2."

However, I am not happy when my favorite artists release one single from a CD, then a second or third single that comes only from the updated version of the CD. What gives?

Jonathan Williams

Hi Jonathan,

I think pretty much every fan shares your frustration.

Usually, there is some convoluted reason why an album gets reissued. In Carey's case, she and producer Jermaine Dupri claimed they were unable to complete "Don't Forget About Us" in time for the original release of the album -- but they felt it was such a strong song, they wanted to put it out on a revamped version of "Emancipation." Personally, I'm not sure if I buy that.

Sometimes, as in Shakira's case, a song just comes out of nowhere and there isn't a home for it, so to speak. One could also say, "Well, Shakira's album was kinda tanking, since the first single did poorly. It's no wonder they tacked on 'Hips Don't Lie' to the album in order to pump up sales."

At the end of the day, labels and artists are trying to make money. Reissues, deluxe and limited editions and the like are all ways of trying to offer more ways for a consumer to part with their money.


Hi Keith,

I am an avid and very eclectic CD collector. But the one thing that I have noticed in every genre is that track numbers three and seven are almost always the most profound or album-defining songs on a CD. Is that a marketing/research ploy or just a coincidence?

Lee Martin
Jonesboro, Ga.

Hi Lee,

In a purely unscientific survey I conducted with our charts department and other associates, our conclusion is that it could just be a coincidence in your album collection.

I happened to look at a stack of CDs on my desk here, and perused track three and seven on each. Generally speaking, none of them struck me as profound, or album-defining. But, that's subjective. What I may think as a monumental song, such as, oh, Madonna's "Like A Prayer," may not be amazing to you. (For the record, "Like A Prayer" is the first song on the album of the same name.)