Taylor Swift's 'Lover' at No. 1 on Billboard 200
Hollywoodreporter.com: Taylor Swift’s new album, Lover, blasts in at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart with the biggest week for any album since her last release, reputation, in 2017.
Lover earned 867,000 equivalent album units in the U.S. in the week ending Aug. 29, according to Nielsen Music. Of that sum, 679,000 were in album sales. Both figures are the largest registered for any album in a single week since Swift’s reputation debuted with 1.238 million units in its first week, of which 1.216 million were in album sales (in the week ending Nov. 16, 2017).
The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week in the U.S. based on multi-metric consumption as measured in equivalent album units. Units are comprised of traditional album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). The new Sept. 7-dated chart (where Lover enters at No. 1) will be posted in full on Billboard's websites on Wednesday, Sept. 4 (one day later than usual, due to the Labor Day holiday in the U.S. on Sept. 2).
In total, Lover begins with 867,000 equivalent album units earned, of which 679,000 were in album sales; 13,000 were in TEA units and 175,000 were in SEA units. The latter figure translates to 226 million on-demand audio streams earned for the album’s songs during its release week.
Let’s take a look at some of the highlights behind the numbers of Swift’s big week with Lover:
Biggest Overall Week for an Album Since Swift’s Last Album, reputation: As Lover starts with 867,000 equivalent album units earned, it logs the biggest single week for any album, in terms of units, since Swift’s last album, reputation. It debuted with 1.238 million equivalent album units earned in the week ending Nov. 16, 2017 (and bowed at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart dated Dec. 2 of that year).
Biggest Sales Week for an Album Since reputation: Lover sold 679,000 copies in its first week, which is the largest sales week for any album since reputation entered with 1.216 million sold.
Aiding Lover’s first week: the set’s release in four collectible deluxe CD editions at Target, as well as dozens of merchandise/digital album bundles sold through Swift’s official website. The album also had a standard CD edition that was available widely at retail, along with an equivalent digital album that was available via all digital retailers.
Comparably, the reputation album was supported by two deluxe editions available exclusively at Target, and a standard CD and digital edition. Notably, during reputation’s first week, its digital edition was exclusively sold via the Apple iTunes Store. It became widely available via all digital retailers in its second week. Further, reputation’s sales were also likely goosed by fan participation in the Taylor Swift Tix powered by Ticketmaster Verified Fan program, where the purchase of an album would help secure greater access to tickets for Swift’s then-upcoming reputation stadium tour. (Swift has announced no plans to tour in support of Lover.)
In addition, Lover is Swift’s first album to be available to stream in full across all streaming services in its first week. Reputation was not available to stream in full during its debut week -- just four pre-release tracks were streamable. Reputation eventually premiered on streaming services on Dec. 1, 2017 -- three weeks after the album’s release on Nov. 10. Reputation’s lack of streaming availability may have driven some fans to purchase the album in its first week, instead of waiting to stream it weeks later. Conversely, Lover racked up a sizable streaming debut (more on that in a moment) likely thanks to its wide availability on streaming services.
Only Woman With Six Albums to Sell at Least 500,000 Copies in a Single Week: With Lover’s sales debut of 679,000 copies sold, Swift becomes the first woman to have six different albums each sell at least 500,000 copies in a single week. (The only other act to do so is Eminem.) Swift previously managed the half-million one-week sales feat with the debut weeks of her last five full-length studio albums: reputation (1.216 million, in 2017), 1989 (1.287 million, 2014), Red (1.208 million, 2012), Speak Now (1.047 million, 2010) and Fearless (592,000; 2008). Swift also remains the only act to have four different albums each sell a million copies in a single week.
Swift’s Sixth No. 1 Album: Lover is Swift’s sixth No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 chart. It follows five other Swift sets that also started atop the list: reputation (four nonconsecutive weeks at No. 1, 2017-18); 1989 (11 nonconsecutive, 2014-15); Red (seven nonconsecutive, 2012-13); Speak Now (six nonconsecutive, 2010-11); and Fearless (11 nonconsecutive, 2008-09).
Five No. 1s This Decade: Lover grants Swift her fifth No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 this decade (2010-present). In turn, she ties Lady Gaga for the most No. 1s this decade among women. (Drake has the most No. 1s this decade among all acts, with nine.)
Second-Biggest Streaming Week Ever for an Album by a Woman, or Pop Album: With Lover’s robust streaming start of 175,000 SEA units, which equates to 226 million on-demand audio streams for its songs during the tracking week, the album notches the second-biggest streaming week ever for an album by a woman, the second-largest for a pop album, and the second-biggest of any album in 2019. In all three metrics, Lover was only beat by the debut week of Ariana Grande’s Thank U, Next, which entered with 228,000 SEA units (equaling 307 million on-demand audio streams).
The rest of the new top 10 of the Billboard 200 chart dated Sept. 7, where Loveropens at No. 1, is scheduled to be announced later today (Sept. 1).
This story first appeared on Billboard.com.