Ask Billboard

Keith Caulfield answers readers' questions about Shania Twain, Mya, and Sade.



I see that Shania Twain's "Up!" release has been on the charts for 21 weeks and has yet to be certified even gold. Considering that her last release, "Come on Over," has sold over 19 million copies, is "Up!" looking to be a major bust or flop sales wise for her?

It would be a shame if "Up!" doesn't do much business since I think it is a great release.


Michael Potter

Hi Michael,

Just because Shania Twain's album "Up!" has not been certified gold or platinum yet, it doesn't mean that it hasn't sold very well. In fact, the Mercury album has sold 3.6 million copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan. That's a heck of a lot for any artist. Certainly, while "Come On Over" has sold 14.6 million in America, I think most people would argue that album was one of those sets that just catches the public's attention at just the right time and goes on to become a total phenomenon.

With regards to certification, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) conveys gold and platinum honors. The awards are applied for, usually by a record company, and the RIAA investigates a title's total shipments to U.S. retailers. A gold award means that 500,000 units have been shipped to retail, while platinum indicates 1 million copies have been shipped. But, if the label (or artist or manager) has not applied for the accounting, the RIAA does not automatically issue an award.

Billboard utilizes Nielsen SoundScan's point-of-sale data to form our charts, so sometimes the figures do not align with what a particular album's gold or platinum status may be.

So, to sum up: Just because "Up!" has not been certified gold yet, it doesn't mean it hasn't sold well. If the RIAA were asked to certify the set, it would earn, at the very least, triple-platinum honors for 3 million copies shipped.



I'm a huge fan of Mya's and I was wondering when her new album will come out? I know she was saying her album should be coming this summer and a new single this spring, but we are in spring right now. We fans have been waiting very long for her to come back although she has been in magazines, in the hit movie "Chicago," and appeared in many TV shows.

By the way, how many copies has she sold from her last album, "Fear of Flying"?


Rose Mary

Hi Rose Mary,

Mya is -- surprise! -- in the recording studio working on her upcoming studio album. No release date has yet been announced for the set. Interscope Records, her label, says the title of the disc will be "Mood Ring."

It will be Mya's third album, following her self-titled debut (1998) and "Fear Of Flying" (2000). Those releases have sold 1.4 million and 1.2 million copies in the U.S., respectively, according to Nielsen SoundScan.


Dear Keith,

I love Sade! How many copies did her "Lovers Rock" sell? Do you have any information regarding the total number of her other albums have sold? Is she going to be coming out with anything new shortly?

Thanks from Sade's number one fans,

Martin and Rod

Hi Martin and Rod,

Sade's "Lovers Rock" has sold 3.5 million copies, in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan. There have been no announcements regarding any upcoming projects from the singer.

Since three of Sade's albums were released previous to the existence of Nielsen SoundScan, exact sales figures for those albums are unknown. However, we can detail their gold or platinum status -- which reflects how many units have been shipped to retailers in America, as certified by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

"Diamond Life" (1984) has been certified for U.S. shipments of four million units, "Promise" (1985) is at four million as well, and "Stronger Than Pride" (1988) has shipped three million. Her post-SoundScan releases stack up like this: "Love Deluxe" (1992), 3.4 million; "The Best of Sade" (1994), 3 million; "Lovers Rock" (2000), 3.5 million; and "Lovers Live" (2002); 425,000.


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