Tag Archives: Taylor Swift

Number One Records: Look What You Made Me Do

Hey everybody, remember this column? It’s understandable if you don’t. It’s been 16 weeks since we had a new number one record in America.

Who would have guessed that “Despacito” would spend the entire summer at the top of the chart? After all, 16 weeks ties the all-time record for the most weeks at No. 1 on the Hot 100. And before that, we had four new number one records in four weeks, which was the first time that had happened since 1990.

It was starting to look like “Despacito” might never be unseated. But then, all of a sudden, new T-Swizz!

Video: Taylor Swift – “Look What You Made Me Do”

Taylor Swift – Look What You Made Me Do

From Reputation, due November 10 on Big Machine.

People have lots to say whenever Taylor Swift does anything. There are a couple of obvious reasons for this. First of all, she is a provocative artist who does interesting things. Additionally, haters are compelled to hate, hate, hate, hate, hate. Either way, she is a ridiculously successful artist who guarantees eyeballs and everybody wants a piece of that action. So it goes.

In some ways it doesn’t even matter what the music sounds like. There are plenty of trappings to focus on when it comes Taylor Swift™ (and pop music in general). But how’s it sound?

Pretty cool actually. A sparse 808 beat with spooky piano and strings. It builds up to some drama-drama in the pre-chorus, and then the chorus switches gears with a stripped down interpolation of Right Said Fred’s “I’m Too Sexy.” Who knows why, but it must have been worth it to give away 12.5% of the songwriting credit (but none of the publishing) to a couple washed up one-hit wonders. She moves in mysterious ways.

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Selling a Million Albums in a Week is a Big Deal

Taylor Swift has sold 1,287,000 copies of 1989 in its first week of release. That’s a lot of albums. Only 18 other albums have managed to move a million copies in a week since 1991 when SoundScan started tracking sales.

And that 1.287 million isn’t even counting everybody in the U.S. who legally purchased 1989. Microsoft was selling the album for 99 cents via its new Music Deals app, but none of those sales are counted. (Billboard’s Keith Caulfield confirmed this to me in a tweet.) We may never know how many additional albums were sold this way. I can personally vouch for one sale.

First week album sales are a measure of true fandom. Real fans get excited to support their favorite artists, and the number of selfies with the 1989 CD on Instagram is anachronistically hilarious. I wonder if half of those kids even own a CD player. Doesn’t matter. They need it.

It’s sometimes tough to remember that even back before Spotify, YouTube, the Pirate Bay, and Napster, it was still rare as hell for an album to break that million/week point. In the first seven years of SoundScan tracking, only one album managed it: The Bodyguard soundtrack in 1993. After that it was almost six more years before another album did it: Garth Brooks’ Double Live at the end of 1998.

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Kanye Sells Less Than Half of Taylor

Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted FantasyWhile last month his arch-nemesis Taylor Swift moved over a million units of her new album in its debut week, poor old Kanye West failed to generate even half that much business. This, despite an aggressive Amazon MP3 campaign that priced My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy at $3.99 and gave away a $3 coupon, effectively selling the album for less than a buck. Stilll though, half a million is hardly anything to shake a stick at; in fact, it’s the fourth-best sales week of 2010. So congratulations are still in order. Billboard 200:

1. Kanye West – “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” – 496,000 (incl. 224,000 downloads; debut)

2. Nicki Minaj – “Pink Friday” – 375,000 (debut)

3. Susan Boyle – “The Gift” – 263,000 (down 21%)

4. Taylor Swift – “Speak Now” – 241,000 (up 64%)

5. Jackie Evancho – “O Holy Night” – 142,000 (down 41%)

6. Rihanna – “Loud” – 141,000 (down 32%)

7. Justin Bieber – “My Worlds Acoustic” – 115,000 (Wal-Mart exclusive; debut)

8. My Chemical Romance – “Danger Days: the True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys” – 112,000 (debut)

9. Ne-Yo – “Libra Scale” – 112,000 (debut)

10. “Glee” Christmas – 108,000 (down 33%)

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Taylor Swift Proves You Can Still Sell a Lot of Records

Taylor Swift - Speak NowA million albums sold. In a week. That’s a lot. Only 15 other albums have sold that many in a week since SoundScan started tracking sales in 1991. Billboard points out that “Speak Now accounted for 18% of all albums sold last week (5.80 million) — or, one out of every sixth set purchased. The album sold more than the Nos. 2-62 albums combined on this week’s Billboard 200 chart.” That’s nuts. Here’s the rest of the Top Ten this week, which looks pretty pathetic in comparison…

1. Taylor Swift – “Speak Now” – 1,047,000 (debut)

2. Sugarland – “The Incredible Machine” – 89,000 (down 56%)

3. Kings of Leon – “Come Around Sundown” – 67,000 (down 63%)

4. Lil Wayne – “I Am Not a Human Being” – 43,000 (down 33%)

5. Eminem – “Recovery” – 38,000 (down 12%; cume: 2.9 million)

6. Elton John and Leon Russell – “The Union” – 37,000 (down 54%)

7. “Glee: Rocky Horror Glee Show” soundtrack – 31,000 (down 35%)

8. Rod Stewart – “Fly Me to the Moon” – 30,000 (down 62%)

9. Darius Rucker – “Charleston, SC 1966” – 27,000 (down 26%)

10. Michael Bublé – “Hollywood” EP – 26,000 (debut)

See below for information on where all of these Taylor Swift fans bought their copy, and how her (independent!) label, Big Machine, convinced a million people to fork over money for this album…

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