Week Ending Oct. 28, 2012. Albums: 1,208,000!
Taylor Swift's Red sold 1,208,000 copies in its first week, the greatest one-week total since Eminem's The Eminem Show sold 1,322,000 in its first full week in June 2002. It's the second-highest one-week sales tally ever for a female artist. Britney Spears' Oops!...I Did It Again sold 1,319,000 in its first week in May 2000. (Swift should get extra credit for degree of difficulty. It's much harder to do this now than it was back then when records were, you know, selling.)
Wrap your head around this: Red sold more copies than every other album in the top 50 combined. (More than every other album in the top 52, to be precise.)
The tally for Red is up from the 1,047,000 that Swift's previous album, Speak Now, sold in its first week in October 2010. And that was up from the 592K copies that her sophomore album, Fearless, sold its first week in November 2008. And that was way up from the 39K that her first album, Taylor Swift, sold in its first week in October 2006.
Swift is one of only four artists to ring up first-week sales of 1 million or more copies more than once. The others are Backstreet Boys, *NSYNC and Eminem. This makes Swift the first female artist and the first country artist to achieve this feat. And she's just the second artist, following Backstreet Boys, to see its sales increase from its first million-selling first-week to its second. Details below.
The tally for Red includes 465K digital copies, which constitutes the second-highest digital total in history. Lady Gaga's Born This Way sold 662K digital copies in its first week in May 2011. And that total included about 400K copies that sold for 99 cents at Amazon MP3. (Gaga fans wish I'd stop bringing that up, but it is a pretty significant asterisk.) Mumford & Sons' Babel sold 420K digital copies in its first week in September, which is now the third highest one-week tally.
Red becomes Swift's third #1 album on The Billboard 200. Swift is only the third female artist in country music history to notch three #1 albums. She follows Faith Hill, who scored with Breathe, Cry and Fireflies, and Carrie Underwood, who scored with Carnival Ride, Play On and Blown Away. (Hill, of course, is married to Tim McGraw, the subject of Swift's first hit on both the Hot 100 and Hot Country Songs, "Tim McGraw.")