Ask Billboard

Keith Caulfield answers readers' questions about Robbie Williams, Bjork, Nelly and Tim McGraw.

OH GREATEST ROBBIE

Hi Keith,

I know that Robbie Williams is preparing to release a fantastic hits collection overseas. Do you know if there are any plans to release it Stateside and how his U.S. albums have sold?

Thanks!

Robbie Nicholson
Chattanooga, Tenn.

Hello Robbie,

Though Robbie Williams' "Greatest Hits" was released in the United Kingdom on Oct. 18, there are no plans thus far to issue the set in the United States.

The "Hits" set features two new songs: "Radio" and "Misunderstood." The former debuted at No. 1 on the U.K. singles chart two weeks ago, and this week falls to No. 3. The album is a strong contender to debut at No. 1 on the U.K. albums chart next week.

In the U.S., Williams' last album was "Escapology." The set was released in 2003 and has sold 132,000 units in the U.S. according to Nielsen SoundScan.



BJORK & DEFINING HITS

Hi Keith,

I read your "Ask Billboard" column regularly. I find it unbelievably helpful and informative.

I have a question: How are the sales of Bjork's albums in the United States? Is "Medulla" doing well? Does she sell better in Europe than she does in the United States?

And I have another question: How much does an album have to sell to be considered a hit? I know that it takes 500,000 units to hit gold but I'm sure if an album sells over 100,000, it would still be considered a hit, right? How much does an artist like Bjork have to sell for her album to be considered a hit?

I'm just curious to know how many units an artist has to sell to be able to be thought of as a hit?

Thanks very much. Your column is great!

Wanggo G.
Manila, Philippines

Hi Wanggo,

Bjork's "Medulla" has sold 142,000 copies in the United States since its release on Aug. 10 by Elektra. It's tough to say whether Bjork sells better in Europe, as there is no one firm that tabulates weekly sales for all of Europe.

There is also no easy answer to your second question. A "hit" album for Madonna may sell a million units in the United States, while a hit for a little-known indie rock band may be 50,000 units. There is so set definition of what a "hit" is.



WHA, WHA, WHA?

Keith,

My co-worker thinks she heard a song by Nelly and Tim McGraw. Is this possible? Please let me know.

Thanks,

Erika Kallstrom

Hi Erika,

Surprisingly, your co-worker is right. Nelly and Tim McGraw collaborated on a song called "Over and Over" on Nelly's new Derrty/Fo' Reel/Universal album, "Suit."

The track is being promoted to radio stations, and last week the cut moved 35-20 on Billboard's Mainstream Top 40 airplay chart. Watch for it to make a huge leap next week.