Week Ending Oct. 14, 2012. Songs: Taylor Swift’s Digital Record
Taylor Swift's "I Knew You Were Trouble," the fourth "preview track" from her upcoming album Red, sold 416K copies in its first week. It's Swift's second song to sell more than 400K copies in its first week. "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together," the first preview track from Red, sold 623K copies in its first week eight weeks ago. Swift is the first artist in digital history to have two songs that debuted with sales of 400K or more copies.
Here's another way of saying pretty much the same thing: Just 10 songs in digital history have sold 400K or more copies the first week out. Swift is the only artist with two of them.
"I Knew You Were Trouble" enters the Hot 100 at #3. It's Swift's 14th top 10 hit; her 11th to enter the chart inside the top 10. Though Red won't be released until Oct. 22, it has already spawned four top 10 hits. "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" spent three weeks at #1, "Begin Again" hit #7 and "Red" reached #6. This constitutes a personal best for Swift. Fearless and Speak Now each spawned three top 10 hits before they were released.
And Swift isn't through yet. Yet another song from Red, "State Of Grace," is expected to make a big splash on the Hot 100 next week. The success of all these songs suggests that Red will get off to a very fast start, as Swift's last two studio albums did. Fearless sold 592K copies in its first week in November 2008. Speak Now sold 1,047,000 copies in its first week in October 2010.
Personally, I find this flood of attention-seeking preview tracks to be tedious, even exhausting (to lift a word from "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together"), but as long as fans keep buying them, I'm sure we'll keep seeing them.
(Swift is as enamored of marketing gimmicks as Garth Brooks was in his prime in the 1990s. It would have been fun to see these two country titans competing head-to-head. My guess is that they would have constantly tried to one-up each other.)
"We Are Never Ever…" holds at #5, giving Swift two songs in the top five for the first time in her career.