Is Spears' star falling?
Rolling Stone's Toure says Britney still shines
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(CNN) -- Could her current U.S. concert tour be Britney Spears' last dance?
She may seem as popular as ever, but it appears fans are not buying Britney like they used to. Just compare her smash-hit record, "Oops, I Did It Again" that sold 8.9 million copies in 2000 with her current release, "Britney," which has sold 3.7 million copies in the U.S.
A&M Records president Ron Fair seems to have an explanation for the pop princess' slump. "The same kids who two years ago were buying 'N Sync and Christina Aguilera records are responding to styles of music that are more song- and artist-driven. They haven't heard that music sung by their peers before."
CNN anchor Arthel Neville talked to Rolling Stone Contributing Editor Toure on Wednesday to get the inside scoop on Spears' status and those who may be in position to take the lead in the fickle field of teen-driven music.
Superstar or not-a-star?
ARTHEL NEVILLE, CNN ANCHOR: So is the queen of teen still a superstar? I mean, 3.7 million copies. That's not bad. So I'm saying, she's not losing her steam.
TOURE, ROLLING STONE: I'm not willing to say Britney's over, not yet. She didn't get the sympathy vote out of her breakup with Justin, but the entire record business is slumping a little bit. She still has got this amazing showmanship. She is still as cute as she was before. Like last night, right, we're sitting there thinking, how can we say Britney is over? That "Slave For You" piece came on from MTV last year with the snake.
NEVILLE: That's hot.
TOURE: We couldn't stop watching. I'm not saying she's over.
NEVILLE: Let's just look at the whole group. Pink, that's my girl.
TOURE: Because she's black, right?
NEVILLE: I think Pink is...
TOURE: She is one of those white girls who is kind of black. I think so.
NEVILLE: And Christina Aguilera, let's see Destiny's Child, B2K, 'N Sync, Backstreet Boys.
TOURE: The breakout star out of that group is going to be Justin Timberlake. He has got the Neptunes, Alicia Keyes [and more] working on [his solo] album.
NEVILLE: He's from 'N Sync.
TOURE: Just to be clear, he's from Memphis, Tennessee. He has got that soul in him. He's been eating ribs all his life. He talks about his grandmother's peach cobbler that he loves.
NEVILLE: Not to get off subject, but do you think there is anything to the Janet Jackson, Justin Timberlake deal?
TOURE: I don't know. It's such a delicious rumor.
NEVILLE: I want to believe it. I say, go, Janet.
TOURE: How about go, Justin?
Who to keep an eye on
NEVILLE: Let's talk about who to keep an eye on.
TOURE: The Eminem record is selling like crazy. OK, and it's a really good record. He's a truth teller. He's a rebel. He's anti-PC. That's a great record. Nelly is selling some reports.
NEVILLE: I love Nelly.
TOURE: The Ashanti record is hot. Here's a record that I can't wait until everybody hears it -- Cody Chestnut. This guy is from Atlanta. He made a reported 36 songs on $10,000 of equipment in his bedroom. It's total low-fi. It's totally mellow. It's a good sound. Everybody in America is going to love it.
NEVILLE: Really? So he's got this whole crossover appeal going?
TOURE: He's accessible. He's fun. It's soul music, like we heard in the '70s. This is going to be blockbuster. And it's a teeny-weeny label, so it's going to take a while for people to discover it.
NEVILLE: Let's talk about Britney Spears again, because she's doing a little cameo in the Austin Powers movie "Goldmember," and she also worked on the soundtrack. She's diversifying.
TOURE: She's actually got a hot song on this soundtrack. You see her on the [Pepsi] commercial. She's got a great new song, great new video with Pharell from the Neptunes. She's had a long, long run so far. She doesn't go away like other people. They do an album, then you don't see for a while. She's got the showmanship. America loves its blondes.
NEVILLE: Ain't that the truth.
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