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Taylor Swift’s ‘Tortured Poets’ Breaks Records With Blockbuster Debut

Taylor Swift’s ‘Tortured Poets’ Breaks Records With Blockbuster Debut

It sold 1.9 million copies in traditional album sales, including 859,000 for vinyl alone, which blew away Swift’s own previous record of 693,000 LPs, set just six months ago. Advance sales through Swift’s website — begun the day Swift announced the album, at the Grammy Awards — were key. She offered an array of tinted vinyl variants and CDs, some in “deluxe” versions advertised with autographs or on-brand trinkets like engraved bookmarks that went for as much as $50 apiece. According to Billboard, 1.4 million copies of the album were sold on its first day, many preordered over the last two months.

The opening followed a promotional blitz that included a blanketing of social media and radio, tie-ins with streaming platforms and IRL happenings like an Easter-egg-filled library installation at a Los Angeles shopping center. “Tortured Poets” also arrived following several years of Swift’s increasing saturation of pop culture, with her Eras Tour generating an estimated $1 billion in ticket sales last year, with months left to go.

In traditional album sales, “Tortured Poets” had the third-biggest result since SoundScan, the predecessor of Luminate, began keeping reliable sales data in 1991. Ahead of it are only ’N Sync’s “No Strings Attached” (2.4 million in 2000) and “25,” which sold just under 3.4 million copies when it came out. (Adele did not initially release her full album on streaming services, but the streams for its first single, “Hello,” added a bit to her overall number.)

Swift’s vinyl take alone is an eye-popping high-water mark in the format’s long-bubbling revival. As recently as 2006, only about 900,000 LPs were sold in the United States in an entire year. By embracing the format and releasing collectible editions, Swift nearly equaled that sum herself in a single week. In 2023, according to Billboard, she moved 3.5 million vinyl records, about one out of every 15 LPs sold in the United States.

Two hours after Swift released the 16-track “Tortured Poets,” she revealed an “Anthology” edition of it — digital only, at least for now — that expanded the original LP into a double album with 15 additional songs. The full 31-track digital doorstopper garnered 891 million streams in the United States in its first week, another high; the previous record, 746 million for Drake’s 25-track “Scorpion,” had stood since 2018.

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