Taylor Swift’s sixth studio album, “Reputation,” dropped at midnight and immediately soared to the top of the iTunes charts amid some reports from fans of having difficulty downloading the LP. “Reputation” is projected by its distributor to sell 1.3 and 1.5 million units in the U.S. in its first week, a source close to the situation tells Variety — which would actually be a bump up from the 1.287 million first-week sales of her previous album, “1989,” release in October 2014.
Also as expected, the album was not immediately available from any streaming service except via a promotion from iHeartRadio. While there’s no official word, sources say that Swift will hold back the album for at least a week and possibly longer, although those sources also say it’s likely a final decision has not yet been made. Once the album is sent to the streaming services and prepared for release, it can be officially posted in a matter of hours.
Even the low sales prediction of 1.3 million is more than any artist has sold in recent years except Adele (whose 2015 album “25” moved a record-breaking 3.4 million units in its first week and withheld the album from them for some seven months) and Swift herself. Given physical’s exponentially larger profit margin compared with streaming, holding the album back from the platforms would be hard for most artists to resist.
Swift removed her music from streaming platforms shortly before the release of “1989,” decrying the services’ royalty payments. In 2015, she called out Apple Music for failing to pay royalties on streaming during free trial periods, but relented with Apple Music after a Fathers’ Day 2015 conversation with Apple SVP Eddy Cue in which he changed the company’s policy. The singer returned her music to streaming services in June of this year after a nearly three-year hiatus.