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Sales of Taylor Swift's 'Red' off to a flying start

October 23, 2012|By Randy Lewis
  • Taylor Swift's new album, "Red," posted strong sales on its first day of release.
Taylor Swift's new album, "Red," posted strong sales… (Frank Micelotta for VH1…)

Taylor Swift may never, ever be getting back together with a certain beau, but she seems strongly positioned to getting back above the 1 million first-week sales mark with her new album. According to her label, Big Machine Records, "Red" bolted out of the starting gate with 262,000 copies sold the first day on iTunes alone.

Big Machine noted that the record went to No. 1 on iTunes' all-genre Top Albums chart just 36 minutes after it was released at 12:01 a.m. Monday. The label also said  “Red” was responsible for more than 4½ million individual iTunes song downloads to date in the U.S. Swift's song “Everything Has Changed” also shot to No. 1 on iTunes' Top Songs chart, one of 13 tracks from the album to reach the chart’s Top 20.

Swift’s fourth studio collection also tops Amazon.com’s list of bestselling albums, having spent 61 days in the Top 100, based on pre-release orders. Amazon is selling “Red” for $9.99, compared to $14.99 for the iTunes album download.  Target.com also has the regular edition of “Red” priced at $9.99, while a deluxe edition with six exclusive bonus tracks (available only in Target stores) is selling for $14.99.

Music industry veterans will be watching to see whether “Red” will top first-week sales of her 2010 album “Speak Now,” which sold 1,047,000 copies during its first week, making it the fastest selling album since rapper 50 Cent’s “The Massacre” notched 1.14 million copies more than five years earlier.

Only two other albums have tallied more than a million first-week sales since 50 Cent: Lil Wayne’s “Tha Carter III,” which sold 1,006,000 in 2008, and Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way,” with 1,108,000 last year. Because Amazon discounted the full “Born This Way” album to 99 cents for two days, many argued that its first-week results deserved an asterisk because the slashed price generated additional sales of more than 400,000 copies.

Billboard subsequently changed its sales-reporting policy to exclude albums sold for less than $3.49 during the first four weeks of release.

Swift's media blitz for "Red" continues this week. She gave a concert in New York's Times Square on Tuesday on ABC-TV’s “Good Morning America” that was reported as the largest in the show’s history. She’ll also be a guest Tuesday night on CBS’ “Late Night With David Letterman," followed by a live appearance on “The View” on Wednesday. Friday marks another busy day as Swift will perform on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” join Katie Couric on “Katie” and be featured in a special edition of “20/20” looking at Nashville, which Couric will also host.

The TV deluge will continue when she shows up Oct. 30 to perform on “Dancing With the Stars,” followed by an appearance at “The 41st Annual CMA Awards” show on Nov. 1.

“Red” also gives Swift the title of the fastest accumulation of 50 hits on the Billboard Top 100. She did it in less than half the time of the previous record holder, Aretha Franklin, who totaled 50 Hot 100 hits in 14 years and six months. Swift has now reached that mark six years and one month since the release of her 2006 debut album, “Taylor Swift.”

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Follow Randy Lewis on Twitter: @RandyLewis2

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