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Taylor Swift Is No. 1 Again, With Little Competition on the Way

Taylor Swift Is No. 1 Again, With Little Competition on the Way

How much longer can Taylor Swift hold at No. 1 with “The Tortured Poets Department”?

This week she is atop the Billboard 200 album chart for a sixth consecutive time, after a monster debut in April and a series of challenges — each handily fended off — from Billie Eilish, Dua Lipa and the rapper Gunna. The numbers for “Tortured Poets” are now cooling slightly, but don’t count on it slipping down the chart anytime soon. Swift’s momentum remains strong, she has plenty of tricks up her sleeve and doesn’t face much superstar competition in the near future, pending any surprise drops. (On next week’s chart, Swift will compete with the K-pop group Ateez, whose last album, opened at No. 1.)

The last album to spend at least its first six weeks at No. 1 was Morgan Wallen’s “One Thing at a Time,” which held the top for its first 12 weeks last year, then returned to notch a total of 19. Before that, it was Wallen’s “Dangerous: The Double Album,” with 10 in 2021. Can Swift reach those same heights with “Tortured Poets”? (Back in 2020, her “Folklore” was No. 1 for its first six weeks, before logging two further times at the top.)

In its latest week out, “Tortured Poets” had the equivalent of 175,000 sales in the United States, which included 174 million streams and 41,000 sales as a complete package, according to the tracking service Luminate. That total is down 54 percent from the week before, when Swift went head-to-head with Eilish’s new “Hit Me Hard and Soft.” But it is still performing well at a time when most other new albums aren’t; so far this year, average opening-week sales for a non-Taylor Swift No. 1 album are about 131,000.

Swift has also demonstrated a highly effective strategy in releasing successive “versions” of her albums. In the days before last week’s chart, when she was competing with Eilish, Swift released six limited digital editions with bonus tracks. Over the weekend, she announced two CDs, each with an exclusive acoustic track. Week after week, fans keep buying them, helping Swift stay strong on the chart.

Also this week, Eilish’s “Hit Me Hard and Soft” holds at No. 2 for a second week, while the alternative duo Twenty One Pilots’ new “Clancy” opens at No. 3 with what Billboard said are the biggest numbers for any rock album so far this year: the equivalent of 143,000 sales, including 113,000 copies sold as a complete package.

Wallen’s “One Thing at a Time” is No. 4, and his three-and-a-half-year-old “Dangerous” is No. 6. RM, from the K-pop supergroup BTS, opens at No. 5 with his second studio album, “Right Place, Wrong Person.”

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