In the days leading up to Friday’s release of Taylor Swift’s Reputation album, certainly industry folk were predicting that the record would move 2 million copies in its first week.
“Rubbish,” said the scoffers. “The singles haven’t been that good. And her fans aren’t buying CDs. They stream! And Tay-Tay’s denying her fans the chance to stream the album this week? And besides, the CD is dead. No one is gonna fall for this. Insanity.”
Turns out that withholding the album from streaming services was an act of genius. Swifties just aren’t prepared to wait a week to hear the rest of the album on Spotify, so they’re buying it. LOTS of them are buying it.
Reputation sold 700,000 copies in the first 24 hours after its release. And that’s just the US, of course. Tay-Tay has Swifties all over the planet.
At this pace (a busy weekend followed by a slower Monday-Thursday rate), Swift looks to break her old record of 1.29 million copies sold the week after 1989 was released. Two other albums also broke the million mark: Red (2012) with 1.12 million and Speak Now (2010) with 1.05 million. While she could still fall short of the prediction of 2 million, a final first-week total of 1.5 million would be her best-ever.
Another thing we’ll be watching: How many of these records were physical units (i.e. CDs and plastic)? How many were digital downloads from iTunes?
Whatever the final number, it’s destined to become the top-selling album in the US in 2017, a spot currently held by Ed Sheeran’s Divide (currently at 909,000 units).