Taylor Swift Sold 800,000 Albums In One Hour, & Haters Thought Her Career Was Dead
There's almost nothing as satisfying as a big, fat, "I told you so." They come in varying degrees, of course — I take very little joy in using one whenever the president does something to violate Americans' civil rights, for example — but it's got to feel good when everyone said your career was over, and then you go on to sell 800,000 albums in one hour, like Taylor Swift did on Friday morning. In fact, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Reputation, Swift's sixth studio album, landed the number one spot on iTunes just six minutes after its release just before midnight. Girlfriend sold more records in the middle of the damn night than some artists sell during their entire careers, so maybe don't count her out so fast, OK?
It seems laughable now that anyone would ever declare Swift to be "over," but just 16 months ago, plenty of haters seemed absolutely sure about it. It all started when TMZ revealed that she wrote "This Is What You Came For," the hit collaboration between Rihanna and Swift's ex-boyfriend, Adam "Calvin Harris" Wiles. When asked for comment, Swift's reps confirmed the story, and Wiles threw a (now-deleted) Twitter tantrum in response, claiming that Swift was trying to "bury" him, "like Katy [Perry]."
The pile-on continued just days later, with Kim Kardashian stepping into the fray. Swift was embroiled in a public feud with Kardashian's husband, Kanye West, over some insulting and misogynistic lyrics about Swift in his recent song, "Famous." West insisted Swift had approved the lyrics, while she said she didn't. Kardashian attempted to "prove" her husband's story by posting an unauthorized recording of a phone call between Swift and West on Snapchat. In it, West does run some of the lyrics by Swift, but not the part that Swift had actually publicly objected to.
Still, that was enough "evidence" for Twitter users to throw a #TaylorSwiftIsOverParty, and Australian graffiti artist Lushsux even painted a "memorial" mural of Swift in Melbourne (which was honestly hilarious, no matter what your opinion on Swift or her feuds).
Who could have predicted that she'd be back to smash records less than a year and a half later? Well, E! Online's Natalie Finn, for one, who wrote at the time, "Does anyone actually think Swift's next album is in trouble? It isn't. If it came out tomorrow (which wouldn't be a bad idea, since it only has to be remotely good to make all of this go away), it would break sales records, lead to another huge world tour and, most importantly, put her right back in the driver's seat of her own narrative."
This shouldn't come as a surprise, by Sunday, presales for the album had already hit 400,000, according to NME, nearly doubling the presales for her last album, 1989, which had broken a new record for the fastest-selling album itself. It was also Target's biggest presale ever.
In fact, of the 20 albums that have sold one million copies in a single week, Billboard reported that three of them were Swift's (Speak Now, Red, and 1989). Swift's label and distributor are projecting that Reputation will sell between 1.3 million units and 2 million units in the U.S. in its first week, according to Variety. It's not available for streaming, and reportedly won't be until that week is up, according to Bloomberg, so that's sure to help things along.
If you're not familiar with the music business, and these numbers are meaningless to you, here are some randomly-chosen comparisons: Katy Perry's latest album, Witness, sold 180,000 units in its first week, and last summer's The Life of Pablo, by Kanye West, sold 94,000 copies in its first week, according to Complex. And Billboard reported that huge guest artists like Pharrell Williams, Ariana Grande, Snoop Dogg, and John Legend helped rocket Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1 by "Calvin Harris" to 68,000 units in its first week. So 800,000 units in an hour? Yeah, it's pretty good.
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