Ask Billboard

Keith Caulfield answers readers' questions about Depeche Mode, Tamia and Billboard's Top Pop Catalog chart.


Hi Keith,

I've noted with interest that Depeche Mode has sold similar numbers of each of its recent albums in the U.S. to what must largely be an established fanbase.

This year band members Dave Gahan and Martin L. Gore each released solo sets in the U.S. I was wondering if they too, have sold similar numbers to the Depeche Mode albums and if not, who has sold more albums, Dave or Martin?

Thanks for your time,

Ryan Fechner

Hi Ryan,

I'm sure Dave and Martin didn't consider it a contest, but if they did, Gahan won. His "Paper Monster" (released in April) has sold 39,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan, while Gore's "Counterfeit2" has moved 14,000. whose albums were both released by Mute/Reprise. Gahan's set debuted at No. 127 on The Billboard 200, while Gore's did not make a mark on the tally, but did debut at No. 3 on the Top Electronic Albums chart.

Gahan's album was aided by seemingly more aggressive radio promotion for his first single, "Dirty Sticky Floors," which garnered a bit of airplay at U.S. modern rock stations. "Floors" also reached No. 3 on Billboard's Hot Dance/Club Play chart, thanks to dance mixes, and No. 7 on the Hot Dance Singles Sales tally.

Follow-up single "I Need You" also dented to the club charts, reaching No. 5 on the Club Play chart in October. Gahan's current single is "Bottle Living," a CD Maxi single for which, with remixes by Tomcraft and Machine Head, will be released Nov. 4 in the U.S.

The first single from Gore's album was "Stardust," which only charted on the Hot 100 Singles Sales chart at No. 55. Gore will release the "Loverman EP2" in November, which will feature remixes of the title track as well as live performances on a DVD.

Depeche Mode's last album, "Exciter," was released in 2001. It has sold 414,000 copies in the U.S.

Fore more information on Gahan and Gore, visit their respective Web sites at and Depeche Mode can be reached at, naturally,



I'm a big fan of Tamia. I didn't think she was that popular, but she has a third album coming out, so I was wondering how much her two albums have sold. Also, what the singles were from the albums? Thank you.



Hi Matt,

Tamia released her self-titled debut in 1998 and "A Nu Day" in 2000. Her forthcoming album, "Still," is scheduled for release in 2004. Originally, "Still" was scheduled for a fall released, but was then pushed back until February, and was then removed from Elektra's release slate altogether.

"Tamia" has sold 416,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan, while "A Nu Day" has shifted 665,000.

The first spawned the singles "Imagination" (which peaked at No. 12 on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart), "So Into You" (No. 7) and "Loving You Still" (No. 78).

"A Nu Day" included the singles "Can't Go For That" (No. 23), "Stranger In My House" (No. 3) and "Tell Me Who" (No. 63).

This past year Tamia has scored two hits. Her collaboration with Fabolous on "Into You" reached No. 6 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart and No. 4 on the Hot 100.

In October, her solo single "Officially Missing You" reached No. 31 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart and No. 83 on the Hot 100. "Officially" is the lead single from the forthcoming "Still" album.


Hi Keith,

Could you explain the history and rules for Billboard's Top Pop Catalog Albums chart? How much does the Top Pop Catalog Albums sell each week? How much did AC/DC's "Back In Black" at position No. 4 sell last week? How well would they do on The Billboard 200?


Thomas Christiansen

Hi Thomas,

You've asked the right person, as I am the Chart Manager for Billboard's Top Pop Catalog Albums chart.

When the tally debuted in the May 25, 1991, issue (not coincidentally the same week that Billboard first began using Nielsen SoundScan point-of-sale information), we ran a story about the new methodology of the charts, as well as the reasoning behind the creation of the Catalog chart.

Here is an excerpt of the story that then publisher Howard Lander wrote:

"Because the new system measures actual sales of all albums, a major objective was to ensure that older albums, which might be strong sellers, would not crowd current titles, and especially titles by developing acts, off the charts. Billboard has a historic commitment to foster development of new talent. We believe the solution is the creation of catalog charts, which are being launched in this issue."

Currently, the rules for the chart are pretty simple. If an album is two years old and is below No. 100 on The Billboard 200, it is shifted to Catalog status. Reissues of older albums are also considered catalog.

Depending on the market and the time of the year, the No. 1 title on Top Pop Catalog Albums can sell anywhere between 10,000 and 20,000 copies. This past week, in the Nov. 1 issue, Johnny Cash's "16 Biggest Hits" was No. 1 with 13,000 in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan. That would have placed it around No. 100 on The Billboard 200 chart.

As for AC/DC's No. 4 placing with "Back In Black," the set sold 9,000 copies. That would have brought "Black" in around No. 140 on The Billboard 200.

On average, usually the top-10 or -15 titles on the Top Pop Catalog Albums chart sell what would be enough units to place them on The Billboard 200 if they were eligible.


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