Taylor Swift is the first artist in two years to sell two million albums

B96 Pepsi Jingle Bash 2017

The last time I actually bought an entire album was… Adele’s 25, I think. But I did buy Sam Smith’s latest album on CD for my mom, who loves him. But generally, my music consumption is pretty limited: I just download the individual songs I want on iTunes. I don’t even bother with Spotify or Tidal or whatever. I haven’t even listened to a CD in my car for several years (I just listen to the radio, the oldies station or the urban station or NPR). Full disclosure: I still haven’t even downloaded the entirety of Beyonce’s Lemonade. I only downloaded half the album, song by song. What’s my point? My point is that the music industry has changed drastically in just the past decade, and how we consume music has changed drastically too.

Taylor Swift’s career, to a certain extent, encapsulates these changes. Taylor – along with Adele, Katy Perry, Beyonce and Rihanna – are the biggest deals in pop music today. They can sell out tours, their lives are fodder for constant gossip, their music and videos are analyzed and loved and GIF’d. But in the new music landscape, it’s getting harder and harder to simply move albums. So give it up for Taylor Swift for being the first artist in TWO YEARS to sell two million copies of her album.

Taylor Swift celebrates her sixth album to sell 2 million copies in the U.S., as Reputation reached the mark in the week ending March 15, according to Nielsen Music. The set sold another 5,000 copies that week, bringing its cumulative sum to just over the 2 million threshold. Notably, Reputation — which was released on Nov. 10, 2017 — is the only album released in the last two years to sell 2 million copies in the U.S. It launched with 1.216 million copies sold in its first week.

Previous to Reputation, the most recently released set to sell 2 million was Adele’s 25, which arrived on Nov. 20, 2015. It hit the 2 million mark after just three days and bowed with 3.38 million sold in its first week. 25 has sold 9.45 million copies through March 15.

For context, in all of 2017, only two albums sold more than a million copies: Reputation and Ed Sheeran’s ÷ (Divide). That’s a stark contrast to 10 years earlier, when 29 albums sold at least 1 million, with eight of those surpassing 2 million. Of course, the diminishing number of million-selling titles isn’t surprising. Since 2001, album sales have steadily declined each year (except for 2011). In 2017, 166.3 million total albums were sold, as compared to 500.5 million in 2007 and 790.1 million in 1997.

Swift Goes Six for Six: As for Swift, all six of her studio albums have now sold at least 2 million copies. Reputation reached the 2 million milestone in its 18th week of release. To compare, here’s a look at how fast Swift’s five earlier studio albums cleared 2 million: 1989 (three weeks), Red (five), Speak Now (six), Fearless (seven) and her self-titled debut (61).

[From Billboard]

There’s a lot to analyze in that data. By many accounts, Reputation is not Taylor’s best album. It didn’t have the breakout mega-hits like 1989 had. The videos have been kind of bad from Reputation too, right? Right. But even with a lukewarm album – lukewarm for Tay – she still managed to sell 2 million copies, it just took her 15 weeks. Whereas it only took 3 weeks for 1989 to sell 2 million. What does that say about Taylor, what does that say about the music industry and what does that say about Reputation as an album?

(Also HELLO Adele sold nearly 10 million copies of 25 in roughly the same amount of time it took Tay’s Reputation to only go double-platinum. Maybe it’s Adele, not Taylor, saving the music industry.)

Taylor Swift premieres her new video 'Delicate' as seen on 'YouTube.'

Taylor Swift's new video 'Look What You Made Me Do'

Photos courtesy of WENN and Big Machine.

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26 Responses to “Taylor Swift is the first artist in two years to sell two million albums”

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  1. Mj says:

    I liked 1989 a lot, I do not like Reputation at all. Also, I hated the song Hello and wasn’t thrilled with the 25 album either, not compared to 21, which I was obsessed with. Taylor needs to go back to her roots, stop with the revenge and snake crap, and learn to let go of things.

    • Lola says:

      25 was good but it was almost a literal copy and paste of 21 so I don’t know how recolutionary Adele can be when she basically makes the same album again and again.

      I like Reputation but I think the main problem is that shes releasing the worst songs on the album as singles. Don’t Blame Me and Getaway are are really good so i hope they come out as singles. Delicate is the first good singles shes released from the album but shes not promoting it so its sinking on the charts.

      • Marlene says:

        Adele’s 25 was basically a sequel to 21, they just wanted to milk her success for all it was worth. Artistically there was nothing new, and thematically it was so contrived. Everybody knew she was in a happy place in her life – baby, boyfriend, etc., – but she still had to produce an album full of heartbreak songs. Yawn.

        Back on topic: I liked three songs from 1989, that’s the full extend of my Swift “fandom”. The Reputation songs I’m pretty indifferent to. But still hats off to her for her album selling skills.

      • another kate says:

        Lola, I definitely agree about the song release problem – why LWYMMD was the first single I will never understand. I strongly prefer 1989 (and Red for that matter) to Reputation, but I do think it has some good songs on it, but for some reason they haven’t been the singles released. I’m really into Don’t Blame Me and I Did Something Bad and I thought for sure they’d be early singles when I first listened to them.

        I agree about Adele too (although I still like some of 25), but yeah it pretty much was copy and paste. Something a lot of artist do, but Adele is painted as being above that sort of thing for some reason.

  2. kNY says:

    I remember when NSYNC sold 2 million albums at the end of a week. I feel so old.

  3. Red says:

    Well I think it says that Taylor’s team was smart to have her fans by multiple copies of her albums, just for a chance to increase their concert seating. Or asking fans to buy multiple copies of her album so they could collect all the pieces of her poetry and pictures.

    Mostly I think it says that her core fans are still showing up for her even though the general public seems to be over her.

  4. LilLil says:

    Adele has a great voice, but she is a mediocre songwriter just like Taylor.

  5. TAM says:

    I think RED is Taylor’s best album.

  6. Krill says:

    Her fanbase is young white girls. Exactly the type of demo to buy rather than illegally download content. Its the home internet restrictions and approving parents with a healthy disposable income.

  7. Tiffany says:

    After learning about the multiple copy buy in for tickets, I don’t trust this number.

    This will be her double platinum album with a big ol’ asterisk.

  8. paranormalgirl says:

    Last album I bought was Afghan Whigs “In Spades.”

  9. Rachel in August says:

    And why I will never, ever know.

  10. soc says:

    Hmm you have to wonder who is buying this album as her new songs are hardly getting any radio play. The first song did but it quickly fizzled out. None of her new videos are getting her singles higher on the charts too.

    • anna222 says:

      I heard Getaway Car on the radio quite a bit after the album came out and I have heard delicate everywhere I go this week. The videos for this album are horrendous though. I hope she’s being deliberately basic because if she’s not…. 😬

  11. the better bella says:

    It says Taylor has out maneuvered the trends

  12. WendyM says:

    You can really tell when the author of these posts dislikes the person. They seem to find the most god-awful photos – I’ve noticed it quite often actually. I don’t even need to read the post in order to know whether or not it’s gonna be a positive piece or not.

  13. hey-ya says:

    …know what…Im crying cos due to a Cali Court ruling in Sept 2017 I am no longer allowed to download music for free even for personal use…so expect all music sales to increase…

  14. lana says:

    The thumbnail cracked me up. 😂😂😂

  15. TIO says:

    None of this album screams “Taylor” to me. None of it. The outfits are nothing ever that Taylor would wear, none of it, is her own style or type, the makeup isn’t her style, and or her. The whole; “I’m a bad girl who doesn’t care anymore” type persona, isn’t her. The music isn’t her, it just sounds like every overproduced song on the current charts (that’s what it is, overproduced music.) The lyrics aren’t special at all, most of the songs seemed rushed and lyrics crammed from years ago, mashed with whatever she came up with in a short period of time (while none of her songs USING the same methods she always use are ANYTHING filler like that.)

    It’s as if she lost herself. She hides herself from the public now too all for one BF for absolutely no reason.

    This “era” isn’t an era. It’s a joke. It isn’t Taylor.

  16. StillTotalled says:

    So Miss Apolitical evidently donated to March for our Lives!