Taylor Swift’s new album “Red” sold a whopping 1.208 million copies last week in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan, scoring music’s highest weekly sales number in more than a decade (since 2002’s “The Eminem Show”), according to a news release.
The sales mark earned the singer-songwriter a new page in the history books as the only female artist (and the fourth artist ever) to hit the 1 million first-week figure twice since SoundScan began tracking actual sales in 1991.
“Red” notched the eighth-largest first-week debut in SoundScan chart history and the second-biggest week ever for a female artist, according to the release.
“Red,” released on Big Machine Records, debuts at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart (Swift’s second consecutive million-plus album selling debut and third chart-topping album), and this week sold more than the rest of the albums in the Top 50 – combined.
“Red” is only the 18th album in history to sell a million units in a single week; Swift’s “Speak Now” is another one of the 18, with a 2010 debut of more than 1.04 million copies.
Swift’s new album accounted for 19.3 percent of total albums sold this week – one out of nearly every five CDs or downloads sold this week was “Red.”
With “Red,” the country-pop superstar also set a new worldwide iTunes record for highest ever first-week album sales, with 565,545 copies sold digitally around the globe. The album reached No. 1 on the iTunes sales charts in 42 countries and reached the top spot on the national sales charts in the UK, Canada, Brazil, Japan, Mexico, Malaysia, Ireland, Argentina, New Zealand, Ireland, and Australia, among others.
Her fourth album also breaks iTunes’s first-week U.S. sales record, with more than 464,000 albums sold. At Target, “Red” set the retailer’s new one-week sales record with more than 396,000 CD sold; Swift’s “Speak Now” album previously held their record.
“Red” also enters Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart at No. 1, and now owns the best one-week sales total for any country release in SoundScan history, surpassing the 1.08 million copies sold of Oklahoman Garth Brooks’ “Double Live” in 1998, according to the release. Swift now has two of the three biggest one-week sales totals for any country album in the SoundScan era.
Critical acclaim for “Red” matches the disc’s sales and chart success, with continuing rave reviews from leading critics around the globe. “She’s a lethally smart songwriter and there’s this universality that speaks not just to young women, but everyone who wants to find love and has felt heartbreak,” Bill Werde, editorial director of Billboard, told Reuters.
At radio, “Red”’s lead single, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” (which recently spent three weeks atop Billboard’s Hot 100 chart), spends its fourth week at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart, is currently Top 5 on Billboard and Mediabase’s CHR chart and is Top 10 on the Hot AC and AC charts. Also, her single “Begin Again” is Top 20 on the Billboard & Mediabase Country radio charts and is this week’s Airpower title. The video for the song has already amassed more than 8 million views online and is on the air in power rotation.
Swift will perform “Begin Again” live on the 46th Annual CMA Awards airing live from 7 to 10 p.m. Thursday on ABC.
“Red” topped the all-genre Top Albums chart at iTunes within 36 minutes of its release last week, and first day sales at iTunes alone topped 262,000 albums. Swift scored 13 of the Top 20 songs on iTunes, with the song “Everything Has Changed” taking the No. 1 position on the all-genre Top Songs chart.
Worldwide, “Red” reached No. 1 at iTunes on the first day of release in 32 countries, including the UK, Australia, Singapore, Brazil, Canada, Italy, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Vietnam, Denmark, Venezuela, Thailand, and Ireland.
With “Red,” Swift set the new Billboard record for the most rapid accumulation of 50 Hot 100 hits in history, reaching the milestone just six years and one month after her 2006 chart debut.
Swift just announced “The Red Tour” and is currently slated to headline 58 shows in 45 cities in 29 states and 3 provinces in 2013. As previously reported, the tour slate includes an Aug. 7 Tulsa show.
In addition, CBS reported this week that Swift will co-host”The Grammy Nominations Concert Live! – Countdown To Music’s Biggest Night,” along with two-time Grammy Award winner LL Cool J. The show, which will announce nominations in several categories as well as feature performances by past Grammy Award winners and/or nominees, will take place live for the first time ever at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn., at 9 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012 on the CBS Television Network.
Swift is a six-time Grammy winner and is the youngest winner in history of the music industry’s highest honor, the Grammy Award for Album of the Year. She is Billboard’s reigning Woman of the Year, as well as the American Music Awards’ current Artist of the Year and the Country Music Association and Academy of Country Music’s Entertainer of the Year. Her “Speak Now” was lauded on Rolling Stone’s prestigious The 50 Greatest Albums of All Time (by women) list, and Time magazine has named Swift one of the 100 most influential people in the world.