×

Taylor Swift roars to top of the charts

Country star notches first million-selling week since 2008

Taylor Swift, who turns 21 on Dec. 13, received an early birthday gift last week from the American public: a million-selling No. 1 album.

As widely anticipated, the country-pop singer’s “Speak Now” (Big Machine) bowed at the top in its first week in stores, according to Nielsen SoundScan figures for the week ended Sunday, Oct. 31, selling 1.04 million copies.

Album was the first title to move in with out-of-the-box sales of 1 million since Lil Wayne’s “Tha Carter III” in mid-2008.

According to SoundScan, “Speak Now” accounted for 18% of all industry album sales for the week; removing catalog titles from the equation, the set represented 28.4% of all album sales.

The “Speak Now” figures benefited from an extra day of sales for the album: It arrived in stores Oct. 25, a day before the music industry’s regulation Tuesday street date.

Price point almost certainly played a factor in its big debut — title was tagged as low at $8 by merchants including Target (which is marketing an exclusive deluxe edition of the set at full price) and Amazon.com.

The rest of the business chose to stay out of the way of the Swift juggernaut. The Oct. 26 release schedule featured no collection likely to challenge her supremacy; the week’s only other top 10 arrival, Michael Buble’s “Hollywood: The Deluxe EP” (No. 10, 26,000 sold), was an eight-song demi-sequel to his 2009 release “Crazy Love.”

Other Swift titles received a chart lift as “Speak Now” rolled out of stores. Singer’s sophomore studio album “Fearless” — on the chart nearly two years, with more than 6 million sold to date — gained 41% and rose 27 slots to No. 38 on the chart. Her 2007 EP “The Holiday Collection” returned at No. 29.

Swift is only the second country artist and the third woman to sell more than a million units in one week since SoundScan started tracking record sales in 1991.

Garth Brooks’ “Double Live” scanned 1.08 million in 1998, setting a sales record at the time. Britney Spears’ second release “Oops! … I Did It Again” topped 1.32 million in 2000, while Norah Jones’ “Feels Like Home,” the 2004 follow-up to her Grammy-winning “Come Away With Me,” shifted 1.02 million.

The record for one-week sales is still held by boy band N’ Sync, whose 2000 set “No Strings Attached” toted up 2.42 million.

As Swift entered the week with sales in seven figures, the rest of the U.S. top 10 had to be satisfied with five-digit tallies.

Previous week’s No. 1, Sugarland’s “The Incredible Machine,” fell to No. 2 with a 56% decline, selling 89,000.

Holding down slots in the top five were Kings of Leon’s “Come Around Sundown” (No. 3, 67,000 sold, down 63%), Lil Wayne’s “I Am Not a Human Being” (No. 4, 43,000, down 33%) and Eminem’s “Recovery” (No. 5, 38,000, down 12%).

Hanging on in the top 10 were Elton John and Leon Russell’s “The Union” (No. 6, 37,000, down 54%), “The Rocky Horror Glee Show” (No. 7, 31,000, down 35%), Rod Stewart’s “Fly Me to the Moon” (No. 8, 30,000, down 62%) and Darius Rucker’s “Charleston, SC 1966” (No. 9, 27,000, down 26%).

New titles by Neil Diamond and Jason Aldean attempt to challenge the Taylor-centric chart this week.

Popular on Variety

More Music

  • Azim Rashid

    Columbia Records Names Azim Rashid Head of Urban Promotion

    Azim Rashid has been named senior vice president and head of urban promotion at Columbia Records, SVP Promotion/Operations Jim Burruss announced today. The Sony Music label’s urban roster includes Lil Nas X, Taylor the Creator, Russ, Dej Loaf Dominic Fike, OBN Jay and Polo G, among others. Rashid arrives from Roc Nation where he also served [...]

  • Plume of black smoke rising from

    Universal Music Says ‘Many’ Suing Artists’ Masters Were Not Damaged in 2008 Fire

    UPDATED: Late Friday the attorneys representing Soundgarden, Steve Earle and the estates of Tom Petty and Tupac amended their lawsuit against Universal Music Group over damages to their music archives as a result of a 2008 fire. While most of the amended complaint updated details in the original document — adding information about UMG’s alleged [...]

  • Lady Gaga

    Variety Earns 14 Folio: Eddie & Ozzie Award Nominations

    Variety has received 14 Folio: Eddie & Ozzie award nominations for its coverage of the entertainment industry over the past year. The awards gala, which will take place at The Hilton Midtown in New York City on Oct. 30, celebrates publications that have demonstrated impressive investigative journalism, in addition to thoughtful digital and print design. [...]

  • Music fans listen to the band

    Woodstock Gets a Low-Key 50th Party With Ringo, Santana and That Album Cover Couple

    After efforts to stage a massive event celebrating Woodstock’s 50th anniversary failed to materialize, the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts in New York’s Catskills region became the only game in town. For months, organizers quietly promoted a weekend of concerts that would put the focus on the 1969 event and its musical and cultural [...]

  • Carrie Underwood, left, and Reba McEntire

    CMAs Make Hosting Change: Brad Paisley Exits, Dolly Parton and Reba McEntire Are In

    The CMA Awards have had the most consistent hosting situation of any music awards show in television, but 11 years after installing Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood as the reliable faces of the telecast, even ABC and the Country Music Association have decided it’s time for a switch. Come Nov. 13, Underwood will return for [...]

  • Ava Max iHeartRadio Wango Tango, Portraits,

    Megan Thee Stallion, CNCO, Ava Max to Perform at VMAs Pre-show

    CNCO, Megan Thee Stallion and “Sweet but Psycho” singer Ava Max (pictured) have been added to the performer lineup at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards. The three will take the stage during the VMAs’ red carpet pre-show, hosted by Terrence J and Nessa. Zara Larsson will join the two hosts as a special correspondent. [...]

  • Bruce Springsteen FYSEE Opening Night with

    Bruce Springsteen Drops Introspective Trailer for 'Western Stars' Film

    While initial reports about Bruce Springsteen’s forthcoming documentary around his recent “Western Stars” album said that it would essentially be a concert film, the first trailer for it, which dropped today, suggests it’s going to be a more introspective outing, more in line with his autobiographical performances at “Springsteen on Broadway” in 2017 and 2018, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content