Ask Billboard

Keith Caulfield answers readers' questions about gold-certified singles, Toni Braxton, and Patty Loveless.



When I was looking this week's singles charts, I noticed some newly awarded gold singles. I understand how the American Idol Finalists single ("God Bless the U.S.A.") went gold, and Kid Rock's "Picture" has probably shipped near 500,000 units, but how did Avril Lavigne's "I'm With You," Pink's "Family Portrait," and TLC's "Hands Up" earn gold status? None of them even entered the top-10 of Billboard's Hot 100 Singles Sales chart.

I was just wondering how come they went gold, while better selling singles like Madonna's "Die Another Day," Mariah Carey's "Through the Rain," and Christina Aguilera's "Dirrty" haven't gone gold?


Mike C.

Hi Mike,

I was confused too, until I consulted some fellow charts department folks. As it turns out, the certifications for the singles by Pink, Lavigne, and TLC were all for the DVD video releases of each. According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), a music video single can be certified gold when 25,000 units have been shipped to U.S. retailers.

For a conventional audio single, 500,000 shipped units are required for a gold certification.

The Madonna, Mariah Carey, and Christina Aguilera singles are still a ways off from certification. The latter two have sold less than 100,000 each, while "Die" is approaching 200,000.


Hello Keith,

My question concerns Toni Braxton's latest Arista album, "More Than a Woman." I have heard that she has already laid out plans to release a new album, under a different label, later this year. Does this mean we will have no more singles from "Woman?" Am I wrong in thinking she only released one single from that album, "Hit the Freeway?"

Also, if you could tell me how many copies the album has sold in the U.S., I would appreciate it.


Bryan Byczek

Hi Bryan,

Since its release last November, Toni Braxton's "More Than a Woman" has sold 402,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan. Only two singles from the set appeared on any of Billboard's charts: "Hit the Freeway" and "A Better Man." The latter only popped on to the R&B Adult airplay tallies, which are published in Billboard's sister publication, Airplay Monitor.

Since "Woman's" release, Braxton has parted ways with Arista. In March, it was announced that she signed with Blackground Records. A new studio album is expected in September.


Hey Keith,

I am a huge fan of Patty Loveless, in fact I just bought tickets to see her in concert in August. I know since 1997 she has concentrated more on her bluegrass sound. I was just wondering how many albums she has sold since signing with Epic in 1991 and how many No. 1 titles she's had on Billboard's Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart since 1991? Also do you know if she has any plans for a new country release anytime soon?

Thank you,

Lance Hnat

Hi Lance,

Here is a list of Patty Loveless' U.S. album sales since 1991, according to Nielsen SoundScan: "Only What I Feel" (1993), 873,000; "Greatest Hits" (1994), 346,000; "When Fallen Angels Fly" (1994), 801,000; "The Trouble With the Truth" (1996), 597,000; "Long Stretch of Lonesome" (1997), 363,000; "Classics" (1999), 320,000; "Strong Heart" (2000), 105,000; "Mountain Soul" (2001), 247,000; and "Bluegrass & White Snow: A Mountain Christmas" (2002), 53,000.

Since 1991, Loveless has had three No. 1 titles on Billboard's Hot Country Singles & Tracks. They are: ""Blame It on Your Heart," "You Can Feel Bad" and "Lonely Too Long."

Her new album, "On Your Way Home," is due out in September via Epic. The first single is a cover of Rodney Crowell's "Lovin' All Night," which went to No. 10 on the Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart in 1992. Loveless' version was recently sent to U.S. radio outlets for airplay consideration, and if well received, should pop onto the chart soon.