Taylor Swift has become a legend in her own time, a market-savvy songwriting genius with tremendous appeal to both country music and soft-pop that has garnered her hundreds of awards and millions of album and singles sales. And although it came as no surprise that her latest album, “Speak Now,” debuted in the #1 position on both the Billboard Country Albums chart and the Billboard 200, it came as somewhat of a shock the massive number of sales accumulated by the album in such a sluggish sales market. Not only did Taylor Swift’s “Speak Now” debut as the #1 album, it did so with over a million in sales for the first week of release.
Billboard pointed out that the album topped the million mark by over 47,000 copies (projections had placed it in the 700,000 to 900,000 range). Nearly 800,000 of those were CDs, causing Billboard to ask: “The CD is dead?” They also pointed out two other common current music industry laments that Taylor Swift contradicted — country artists can’t sell digital albums (“Speak Now” pulled in 278,000 digital sales) and the industry had seen its last first-week million-selling album (there hadn’t been one since Lil Wayne’s “The Carter III” hit stores in June 2008).
The follow-up to “Fearless,” the winner of the Grammy, the American Music Awards, the Country Music Association Awards, and the Academy of Country Music Awards Album of the Year (the only album in history to have achieved such a feat), “Speak Now” is already on track to catch its predecessor in sales. “Fearless” has been certified six-times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (as of September 2010). It was also the top-selling album of 2009. However, even with the enormous jump-off enjoyed by “Speak Now,” it must be noted that “Fearless” is also still charting, selling thousands of albums.
As happens in most cases when an artist releases a new album, a resurgence in the interest of older works pulls those offerings back into the sales arena. “Fearless” slid into the Billboard 200 Top 40 at #38. Swift’s holiday contribution, “The Taylor Swift Holiday Collection,” settled in at #29. Her self-titled first album settled in at #58 for the week. In total, Swift’s album sales made up 41 percent of all the album sales in the Billboard 200.
The album had plenty of advance billing help from the hit song, “Mine,” which was released prematurely in August due to an online “leak.” The song went to #2 on the Country Songs chart, #3 on the Hot 100 singles chart, #5 on the Adult Contemporary, and #7 on the Adult Pop Songs Chart (all Billboard charts). “Mine” has sold over 1 million copies since its release.
The 20-year-old songstress performed recently on “Dancing With The Stars” and will defend her Female Vocalist of the Year award Wednesday evening (Nov. 10) at the Country Music Association (CMA) awards. She is also scheduled to perform.
“Taylor Swift Sells Over 1 Million in Record Billboard 200 Debut,” Billboard.com