So much for me and my prognostication skills.
When Taylor Swift’s “Speak Now” album came out last week, I initially pegged the album to do a WAY more than respectable 750,000 copies in it’s first week-coming into close contention with Eminem’s “Recovery” as the biggest debut week in 2010. Well, reports immediately started flying around suggesting that Taylor would come close to the coveted million mark, and now the dust has settled for the week, and Swift scores the biggest debut week for an album in half a decade. “Speak Now” starts with nearly 1.05 million units, EASILY making it this week’s #1 album. Actually, “Speak Now” sells more than the #2-#50 albums COMBINED. After just one week in stores, “Speak Now” is the year’s eighth biggest selling album. All pretty awesome feats, especially when you consider:
*All this talk about pricing albums lower? It should be noted that “Speak Now” carried an $18.98 list price. Although it obviously sold for less in most stores, it brings up an interesting issue when it comes to what people will pay for music. While list prices on most CDs have dropped into the $13.98 range (which is comparable to the list price of a CD in the late Eighties/early Nineties FYI), most country albums still roll out at $18.98-AND THEY SELL. So pricing being an issue? Mmmm…maybe not so much.
*Taylor is only the third female artist to break the million-sales barrier in her first week (at least since the Soundscan era began in 1991). The first female singer to do it? Britney Spears, whose second album “Oops…I Did it Again” posted a million and change just over ten years ago. Norah Jones also did with her sophomore effort, “Feels Like Home”. Taylor is also only the second country artist to sell more than a million of an album in a week, with the first being Garth Brooks’ “Double Live” back in 1998.
*It would appear that Taylor won the public relations “war” with Kanye West for sure. Whatever the fallout from the MTV incident was, it definitely introduced Taylor to an audience that wasn’t wholly familiar with her prior, and it can be argued that the increased attention contributed to her stellar sales. I wouldn’t count Kanye out for a million-plus first week (he’s come close twice), but in order for that to happen, the hip-hop faithful is gonna have to come out in droves to support him. To the average pop fan, West is on their shit list.
Without any other major debuts, the chart is pretty bleh. The only other new entry in the Top 20 is a reissue of Michael Buble’s “Crazy Love”, which apparently contains enough new material to be classified as a totally different album on the charts. It appears at #10 with about 26,000 sales. Over on the digital downloads chart, Ke$ha soars in at #1 with her new single, “We R Who We R”. The bootleg Lady GaGa scores an impressive first week of 280K downloads, one of three new entries in the Top 20. Ten year old Willow Smith makes an impressive start at #4 with “Whip My Hair”, while Swift pops in at #8 with “Sparks Fly”. Halloween is the cause of the gains for Bobby “Boris” Pickett’s “Monster Mash” (at #34) and Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” (#35), while Ray Parker Jr’s “Ghostbusters” reenters the chart at #63.
To no one’s surprise, Taylor will hang on to the #1 position for at LEAST another week. More than likely, the #2 spot will fall into the hands of another country artist, Jason Aldean, who is looking to score the biggest first week of a career that already includes a pair of million sellers. For a little switch up this week, check out the Top 20 digital download singles on the Billboard chart below.
1) “We R Who We R” Ke$ha
2) “Like a G6” Far East Movement
3) “Only Girl (in the World)” Rihanna
4) “Whip My Hair” Willow Smith
5) “Just a Dream” Nelly
6) “Bottoms Up” Trey Songz feat. Nicki Minaj
7) “Just the Way You Are” Bruno Mars
8) “Sparks Fly” Taylor Swift
9) “Raise Your Glass” P!nk
10) “Monster” Kanye West
11) “Club Can’t Handle Me” Flo-rida feat. David Guetta
12) “Innocent” Taylor Swift
13) “DJ Got Us Fallin’ in Love” Usher feat. Pitbull
14) “Dynamite” Taio Cruz
15) “Fuck You” Cee-Lo Green
16) “Teenage Dream” Katy Perry
17) “Yeah 3X” Chris Brown
18) “The Story of Us” Taylor Swift
19) “No Hands” Waka Flocka Flame
20) “Please Don’t Go” Mike Posner