Taylor Swift’s new album 1989 is expected to sell about 900K copies in its first week. That’s up from the initial sales projection, announced two weeks ago, of 750K. But it’s down from the million-plus first-week sales of Swift’s two most recent studio albums, Speak Now and Red. Even so, it would be, by far, the biggest one-week sales tally of 2014. In fact, it would be way more than double the runner-up, Coldplay’s Ghost Stories, which sold 383K copies in its first week in May.
And get this: In just one week, 1989 will surpass Coldplay’s album as the best-selling album released in 2014. After 22 weeks, Coldplay’s album is up to 737K.
If 1989 meets these projections, Swift will become the first female artist—and just the second artist overall—to top the 900K mark in weekly sales with three albums. The first was Justin Timberlake, who did it with two *NSYNC albums and one solo album. No female artist had come anywhere hitting this lofty sales level three times. Britney Spears had come the closest, with three albums that opened at 609K or above.
If 1989 surpasses these projections and sells 1M or more copies in its first week, Swift would become the first artist to achieve that feat three times in the Nielsen SoundScan era (which began in 1991).
The biggest factors boosting the album: Swift’s smash single “Shake It Off” has ranked #1 or #2 on the Hot 100 since its release 10 weeks ago. And Swift has been tireless in terms of TV and media appearances.
Two factors may keep 1989 from matching the first-week sales of its two predecessors. First, Swift made no secret that she is leaving country for pop. Country was a big part of her fan constituency. Also, album sales are down 14% compared to a year ago, and down 19% compared to the same point in 2012 (just before Red was released).
With the recent news that Adele will not release a new album before the end of the year, it’s all but certain that Swift’s total will represent the biggest one-week sales tally of 2014. This will be the third time that she has the year’s top one-week tally. Speak Now held that distinction in 2010. Red claimed it in 2012.
Swift will be just the third artist since 1992 to have the year’s top one-week sales tally three times. Garth Brooks achieved the feat in 1994, 1997 and 1998. Justin Timberlake achieved the feat as part of *NSYNC in 2000 and 2001 and on his own in 2013. (Details below.)
1989 will be Swift’s fourth consecutive studio album to sell more than 500K copies in its first week. Fearless sold 592K in its first week in November 2008.
It goes without saying that 1989 will enter The Billboard 200 at #1. It will be Swift’s fourth consecutive studio album to debut at #1. She will become one of only five female artists in chart history to reach #1 with four or more consecutive studio albums. Madonna, Janet Jackson and Beyonce have all topped the chart with five consecutive studio albums. Britney Spears, like Swift, had four in a row.
1989 seems likely to wind up as the #2 best-seller of 2014, just behind the Frozen soundtrack (which has sold 3.2 million copies in the U.S. so far this year). This would be the fifth time in the past seven years that Swift has had one of the three top-selling albums of the year, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Fearless was #3 for 2008 and #1 for 2009. Speak Now was #3 for 2010. Red was #2 for 2012.
1989 will be the first Swift studio album not to appear on the Top Country Albums chart, a reflection of the album’s pop focus. Swift’s first four studio albums logged a combined total of 88 weeks at #1 on that chart. In addition, she topped the country chart for one week with the Beautiful Eyes EP in 2008.
As promised, here’s the backup on Swift, Brooks and Timberlake. Swift had the top sales week of 2010 with Speak Now (1,047,000) and of 2012 with Red (1,208,000). Brooks had the top sales week of 1994 with The Hits (907K), of 1997 with Sevens (897K) and of 1998 with Double Live (1,085,000). Timberlake had the top sales week of 2000 with No Strings Attached (2,416,000), of 2001 with Celebrity (1,880,000) and of 2013 with The 20/20 Experience (968K).
Swift's official sales tally will be announced on Tuesday, Nov. 4.
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