Ask Billboard

Keith Caulfield answers readers' questions about Jessica and Ashlee Simpson, Blondie and more.


Hey Keith,

I've recently been wondering about a couple artists that have, for the most part, gone unnoticed with the mainstream media.

Specifically, I would like to know how much the albums of the following artists and their releases have performed in the United States: Feist's "Let It Die," M.I.A.'s "Arular" and Nikka Costa's "Can'tneverdidnothin'." They are three of my favorite albums to have been released this year and it's a shame that radio won't play their songs.

If it's not too much to ask I would also love to know how Nellie McKay's "Get Away From Me" and Annie's recently released "Anniemal" did in terms of sales.

As always, thank you so much for doing what you do. It's a nice effort to keep the readers informed and I am sure I'm not the only one grateful for that.

Greetings from Guaynabo, Puerto Rico,

Marvin Ortiz

Hello Marvin,

Some of your favorite albums of this year are also played a lot here in Billboard's offices.

The top seller among the titles you asked about is Nellie McKay's "Get Away From Me," which has sold 102,000 in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan, since it was released in February 2004. M.I.A.'s "Arular" has shifted 57,000 while Feist's "Let It Die" and Nikka Costa's "Can'tneverdidnothin'" each sold about 19,000.

Pop wonder Annie has only managed 7,000 of her great "Anniemal" set." Keep in mind, she's still fairly unknown in the United States with mainstream audiences -- as are most of the acts that you asked about -- and her album came out only two months ago.

Annie is on tour in Europe through early September, and then opens for Royksopp's U.S. tour. M.I.A. is on tour as well -- and will open for Gwen Stefani in October.


Hi Keith,

The last Blondie album ("The Curse of Blondie") didn't seem to make much of an impact in the U.S., although the music was quite compelling. The previous studio album ("No Exit") was announced to Deborah Harry as having gone gold by NBC's Katie Couric (on "The Today Show" in 2000), although I've never seen it listed gold by RIAA. Also, how many copies have Blondie and Deborah Harry sold during the SoundScan era?

Rod Thornton

Hi Rod,

Somewhat tragically, "The Curse of Blondie" has only sold 35,000 in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan, since it was released in April 2004. That pales in comparison to the previous studio album, "No Exit," which has done 416,000 to date in America. Of course, "No Exit" did have a significant hit radio single -- "Maria" - which hit No. 14 on the Adult Top 40 chart.

Here is a brief rundown of Blondie's major Nielsen SoundScan-era releases (1991-present) and how many units each has sold in the United States.

"Blonde & Beyond" (1991; 43,000)
"The Platinum Collection" (1994; 53,000)
"Remixed, Remade, Remodeled" (1995; 89,000)
"Back to Back Hits" (with Pat Benatar) (1996; 702,000 - It's the most successful title in EMI's budget "Back to Back" series)
"Picture This Live" (1997; 22,000)
"No Exit" (1999; 416,000)
"Live" (1999; 129,000)
"Greatest Hits" (2002; 85,000)
"The Curse of Blondie" (2004; 34,000)
"Live By Request" (2004; 3,000)


Hey Keith,

I have a really interesting question I need you to answer for me. Jessica and Ashlee Simpson are two very successful music artists. Now I heard that Ashlee's album outsold not only Jessica's last album but every one of her albums. Is this true? If so can you let me know the total sales of each to date?



Hi Dan,

Ashlee Simpson's "Autobiography" has sold 2.9 million copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan, surpassing the individual sales of her sister Jessica's releases. Jessica's biggest seller is "In This Skin" (2.8 million) followed by "Sweet Kisses" (1.9 million), "Irresistible" (730,000 units) and "Rejoyce: The Christmas Album" (539,000 units).


The Biz premium subscriber content has moved to

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