Week Ending Dec. 9, 2012. Albums: Swift’s Birthday Present
Taylor Swift's fans have given her the perfect birthday present: They sent her album Red back to #1 on The Billboard 200. (Swift turns 23 on Thursday.) The album has sold 2,383,000 copies in just seven weeks. That's more than any other album has sold in such a short time span since Susan Boyle's I Dreamed A Dream sold 3,196,000 copies in its first seven weeks in 2009 and early 2010.
Red has sold at least 137K copies in each of its first seven weeks. You might not think that would be that would be so hard, but these days it is. Rihanna's Unapologetic and Alicia Keys' Girl On Fire have each had just one week with sales above 100K. Ke$ha's Warrior debuts this week with sales of just 86K. And those are three of the hottest female artists in the business.
How is Swift able to defy the trends? It's easy to give credit to her vast country crossover constituency, but no other country artists sell like this.
Nielsen SoundScan's running list of the artists who have sold the most albums since 1991 includes 10 artists who first hit The Billboard 200 since December 2002. Swift, 50 Cent and Buble are followed by Carrie Underwood (13,797,000, Beyonce (as a solo artist, 13,038,000), Adele (12,628,000), Kelly Clarkson (11,969,000), Kanye West (11,780,000), Evanescence (11,052,000) and Maroon 5 (10,469,000).
This is Red's fourth week at #1 on The Billboard 200. The album is #1 on Top Country Albums for the seventh week.
Wiz Khalifa's O.N.I.F.C. debuts at #2. It's the rapper's second album in a row to debut at #2, following Rolling Papers in April 2011. The title of the new album is an acronym for Only N**** In First Class, or, for fans who prefer a tamer alternative, One Night In First Class. This echoes Chris Brown's 2011 album F.A.M.E., which stood for Forgiving All My Enemies, or for fans with tender sensibilities, Fans Are My Everything. You can always tell when a title is made up after the fact to be the "clean version." It just kind of sits there.
O.N.I.F.C. sold 87K digital copies, which puts it at #1 on Top Digital Albums.