‘Speak Now’: Taylor Swift curates history as sole woman in Top 10 of Billboard 200

NEW YORK: American singer Taylor Swift’s latest re-recorded album Speak Now (Taylor’s version) has debuted at no. 1 on the Billboard 200, boasting the highest numbers of the year for any release with Swift becoming the only woman with four album simultaneously in the top 10 of the Billboard in the six-decade history of the album charts.

According to the Billboard, before Swift, only two other artists, Herb Alpert and Prince, have accomplished this extraordinary achievement.

Swift has also secured her place in history as the female artist with the most No. 1 albums, surpassing Barbra Streisand, as she now boasts a remarkable total of twelve chart-topping albums.

The debut of Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) bowed on the top of the Billboard 200 chart with 716,000 album-equivalent units sold. The impressive figure left all competition far behind, as the previous record was held by Morgan Wallen’s One Thing at a Time, which debuted in March with 501,000 units.

Swift’s other three albums in the top 10 are Midnights from 2022 at No. 5, Lover from 2019 at No. 7, and Folklore from 2020 at No. 10.

Meanwhile, Alpert achieved this feat in 1966 while still alive, whereas it happened posthumously for Prince in 2016. No artist has achieved this since the chart’s inception in 1963.

Swift’s new album has set a new record for the largest debut among Swift’s re-recorded albums, which form part of her campaign to reclaim her original recordings from her former label, Big Machine.

The previous record-holder was Red (Taylor’s Version) with 605,000 units upon its release in late 2021. The first release in this series, Fearless (Taylor’s Version), had a slightly lower debut of 291,000 units in early 2021, partly due to the delayed availability of the highly sought-after vinyl version. All three albums achieved a No. 1 debut.

While streaming dominated album sales, Speak Now saw a significant contribution from physical sales, particularly vinyl copies, with 507,000 units sold in the album’s first week. It is pertinent to note that vinyl sales accounted for 268,500 of those copies, marking the second-best week for a vinyl album since SoundScan began tracking them in 1991. Surprisingly, Swift’s own Midnights album holds the top spot with 575,000 vinyl copies sold in its debut week last October.

When considering overall opening numbers, including streaming and sales, Speak Now stands as the most significant album since Midnights, which debuted with 1.58 million units in its first week.

Billboard also highlighted that Swift’s 716,000-unit debut for Speak Now ranked as the fifth-largest debut in the last five years.  While four out of the top five debuts are Swift albums, with Adele’s 30 rounding out the list as the fourth-largest debut, just ahead of Speak Now.

Amidst the Swift domination, other albums managed to squeeze into the top 10, including Wallen’s One Thing at a Time at No. 2 with 104,000 units, Lil Uzi Vert’s Pink Tape at No. 3 (down from its No. 1 debut last week with 61,000 units in its second week), Peso Pluma’s Genesis at No. 4, and Gunna’s A Gift and a Curse at No. 9.

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