Taylor Swift’s new album poised to set a record

Taylor Swift’s third album 'Speak Now' is on track to score the biggest opening week of the year in the United States.


Reuters October 27, 2010

LOS ANGELES: Taylor Swift’s third album, which released worldwide on Monday, is on track to score the biggest opening week of the year in the United States. According to industry estimates, the album may hit the one million mark.

For now, the consensus has Speak Now selling 800,000 to 900,000 copies by October 31. Depending on how quickly it flies out the doors during its first few days, the forecast could move towards one million.

So far the best sales week of the year belongs to Eminem’s Recovery, which arrived at No. 1 with 741,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The last album to sell one million copies in one week was Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter III, which started its run with 1,006,000 units in June 2008.

Speak Now’s sales must be music to the industry’s ears, after many superstar album releases this year have failed to meet or exceed first-week expectations.

Swift’s last album, Fearless, started at No. 1 with 592,000 in November 2008 and has sold six million copies to date.

The music industry’s eyes and ears were focused quite closely on Swift before Big Machine released her third project on October 25.

Swift remembers sitting on the same studio’s floor in the early summer of 2006, stuffing promotional CDs of her first single “Tim McGraw” into envelopes destined for radio stations around the country, “With every envelope that I would seal, I would look at the address and the station on there and think, ‘Please, please just listen to this one time’.”

“I would say a little message to each envelope: ‘Please, whoever gets this, please listen to this.’ There’s no promise when you’re putting out your first single that people are even going to listen to it,” said Swift.

Not only did the single get heard, it opened the door to sales of more than four million copies of her self-titled debut album, awash in songs about broken hearts and high school social dramas.

“At one point, the record was not called Speak Now. It was called Enchanted,” said Scott Borchetta, Big Machine president and CEO. “We were at lunch, and she had played me a bunch of the new songs. I looked at her and I’m like, ‘Taylor, this record isn’t about fairy tales and high school anymore. That’s not where you’re at. I don’t think the record should be called Enchanted.’”

Swift excused herself from the table at that point. By the time she came back, she had the Speak Now title, which comes closer to representing the evolution that the album represents in her career and in her still-young understanding of the world.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 28th, 2010.

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