Taylor Swift is setting some high chart benchmarks with the release of her “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)” album. Not only has it debuted at No. 1 with the biggest numbers of the year so far for any release, but it’s one of four albums she now has in the top 10 of the album chart. According to Billboard, that’s the first time a woman has done that in the entire six-decade history of there being an album chart — and she’s one of only three artists to ever accomplish the feat.
Swift also set a record for the female artist with the most No. 1 albums in history: She now has a dozen, moving ahead of Barbra Streisand, with whom she was formerly tied with 11 each.
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“Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)” bowed on top of the Billboard 200 with 716,000 album-equivalent units. That number ensured that it wasn’t even a photo finish in this year’s opening-week derby, as the previous best figure was held by Morgan Wallen’s “One Thing at a Time,” which debuted in March with 501,000.
The other three albums Swift has in her triumphant quadrilogy in the top 10 are 2022’s “Midnights” at No. 5, 2019’s “Lover” at No. 7 and 2020’s “Folklore” at No. 10.
In answer to the trivia buffs who will want to know who’s on the very short list of artists who’ve landed four albums in the top 10 simultaneously, the other two are Herb Alpert and Prince. Alpert was the last living person to manage that many, when he did it in 1966. It happened for Prince posthumously, right after his death in 2016. No one else has had four at once since the chart was instituted in 1963.
“Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)” also set a mark for the biggest debut number of the three re-recordings Swift has released to date, in her campaign to remake all of the albums she originally recorded for her former label, Big Machine. “Red (Taylor’s Version)” is now in second place, having come out of the gate with 605,000 in late 2021. The first in this series, “Fearless (Taylor’s Version),” had a less auspicious bow, with 291,000 in early 2021, with the lesser number partly accounted for by the fact that the much-coveted vinyl version was not yet available at the time of general release. That one, like the others, easily debuted at No. 1 anyway.
Sales accounted for a lot of the “Speak Now” total, in an era when most No. 1 albums are getting almost all of their strength from streaming. Actual sales for the album in its first week added up to 507,000 copies. Of those, vinyl sales accounted for 268,500. Billboard says that is the second-best week for a vinyl album since SoundScan began tracking them in 1991. The only LP to have a better opening week in the last 32 years is Swift’s own “Midnights,” which sold 575,000 copies on vinyl out of the gate last October.
And in overall opening numbers, including streaming and sales, “Speak Now” is the biggest album since “Midnights,” which came out with 1.58 million first-week units.
Her 716,000 unit number for “Speak Now” is the fifth-largest bow of the last five years, Billboard additionally points out. Swift albums account for four out of five of those debuts, with Adele’s “30” in there as the fourth-biggest, just ahead of “Speak Now.”
Not to be forgotten, other albums squeezing into the top 10 amidst the Swift onslaught include Wallen’s “One Thing at a Time” at No. 2 (with 104,000 units) and “Dangerous” at No. 6; Lil Uzi Vert’s “Pink Tape” at No. 3 (down two slots from its No. 1 bow last week, with 61,000 in week 2); Peso Pluma’s “Genesis” at No. 4, and Gunna’s “A Gift and a Curse” at No. 9.
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