Taylor Swift’s smash ‘Midnights’ sells more than 1 million in a week

2. Taylor Swift
US singer Taylor Swift attends ‘In Conversation With... Taylor Swift’ during the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival at TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto, Canada, on September 9, 2022. (File photo: AFP)
Taylor Swift’s latest album was always going to be a hit.

She is Taylor Swift, first of all. And “Midnights”, which was released on October 21, is her first new pop album since 2019, after an extremely productive couple of years in which she released two indie-folk-style LPs and two rerecorded versions of old records.اضافة اعلان

Yet even for a superstar like Swift, the scale of her latest success has stunned the music industry.

In its first week out, “Midnights” had the equivalent of 1,578,000 sales in the United States, according to the tracking service Luminate — the biggest weekly take for any album in seven years, since Adele’s “25” arrived with a boom of nearly 3.5 million (and with the full album then absent from streaming).

On the Hot 100 chart for songs, Swift benefits from her strong streaming numbers, currently occupying every spot in the Top 10, a Billboard first.

Streaming has so rewritten the math of the music business that in recent years it had become practically an article of faith that no record would ever again cross a time-honored threshold of blockbuster sales, moving more than one million copies in a single week, as artists such as ’N Sync, the Backstreet Boys, and Eminem did multiple times in the old days.

The last record to hit this mark was Swift’s own “Reputation” in 2017. Since then, both Swift’s “Lover” (2019) and Adele’s “30” (2021) failed to reach the magic seven digits.

But “Midnights” has easily crossed that line, and not only in “equivalent sales”, a composite number used by Luminate and Billboard to reconcile the various ways fans consume music now, counting streaming, sales, and track downloads. Of the 1,578,000 “equivalents” for “Midnights”, 1,140,000 were copies sold as a complete package — in other words, purchases of the album as a whole. It is Swift’s fifth album to sell at least 1 million copies in a single week, and no album by any artist has had better weekly sales since “Reputation” opened with 1,216,000.

How did she do it?
That is always the question for Swift, who is not only one of the most vital creative forces in 21st-century pop, but also perhaps its greatest marketer. In a year of many disappointing releases, with albums by Drake, Post Malone, Kendrick Lamar, and other big names posting surprisingly low numbers, Swift promoted her release cleverly online, with cheeky TikTok videos and drip-drip revelations, and advertised an array of product variations that got fans reaching for their credit cards.

“She can create an event record,” said Keith Caulfield, Billboard’s senior director of charts. “She’s done that with ‘Midnights’.”

The biggest factor ended up being physical media. Those formats, including CD, vinyl, and cassette, now make up just 10 percent of all recorded music revenue in the US — streaming is 84 percent — but they are often embraced by fans eager to own something tangible by their favorite artists, and can play an important role in a new record’s chart position.

The standard CD and LP versions of “Midnights” came in four forms. Swift also sold autographed versions through her website, and three hours after “Midnights” came out she released an expanded “3am Edition” with seven extra tracks. In the most commented-upon gimmick, the back covers of the four vinyl versions, when arranged in a grid, form the numbers of a clock, and, for $49, Swift’s website even sold the parts of a wall clock to bring it all together. “Collect all 4 editions!” Swift’s website said when promoting the releases.

It worked. “Midnights” sold 575,000 copies on vinyl, along with 395,000 on CD and even 10,000 on cassette. There were also 161,000 copies of the album sold as a digital download.

The success of “Midnights” is not just a vinyl or CD phenomenon. It also had 549 million streams, the third-best weekly total for any album.

“Midnights”, of course, opened at No 1 on Billboard’s latest album chart. It is Swift’s 11th album to reach the peak, tying her with Bruce Springsteen, Barbra Streisand, and Drake. Only Jay-Z (with 14) and the Beatles (with 19) have had more titles at No 1.

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