Home Entertainment Taylor Swift’s ‘The Tortured Poets Department’ No. 1 on Billboard 200

Taylor Swift’s ‘The Tortured Poets Department’ No. 1 on Billboard 200

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Taylor Swift’s ‘The Tortured Poets Department’ No. 1 on Billboard 200

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The Tortured Poets Department sold 1.914 million copies in traditional album sales in its first week (purchases of digital downloads, CDs, vinyl LPs and cassette tapes). That marks the third-largest sales week for an album in the modern era — since Luminate began electronically tracking music sales in 1991.

The Tortured Poets Department’s sales were bolstered by its availability across 19 different physical configurations (nine CDs, six vinyl LPs and four cassettes, with four of the physical configurations exclusively sold by Target stores) and two digital download offerings (the standard 16-song album, and a surprise deluxe 31-song edition that was released two hours after the original album bowed). All of the variants are itemized later in this story.

Of The Tortured Poets Department’s first-week sales of 1.914 million, physical sales comprise 1.64 million (859,000 vinyl LPs — a modern-era single week record for an album on vinyl, 759,500 CDs and a little over 21,500 cassettes) and digital downloads comprise 274,000.

The Tortured Poets Department is the seventh Swift album to have sold at least 1 million copies in a single week, following the debuts of 1989 (Taylor’s Version), Midnights, reputation, the original 1989, Red and Speak Now. She is the only act with seven different albums to each sell at least 1 million copies in a single week in the modern era. In total, there have been 26 instances — by 24 different albums — in which an album has sold at least 1 million copies in a week in the modern era. One of those albums, Adele’s 25, sold more than 1 million in three separate weeks.

Six of the top 10 million-selling weeks occurred in the early 2000s, in the pre-digital and pre-streaming heyday of the CD — when essentially the only way to listen to music on-demand was by purchasing an album. The year 2000 was the high-water mark in the modern era for album sales, when 785 million albums were sold in the U.S. Comparably, in 2023, there were 105.32 million albums sold, and Swift sold the most of any act — accounting for 6% of all U.S. album sales in 2023. (Popular streaming services Spotify and Apple Music did not launch in the U.S. until 2011 and 2015, respectively.)

Here’s a recap of the top 10 biggest-selling weeks by albums in the modern era (1991-present), ranked in order by sales volume.

Rank, Artist, Title, Sales, Chart Date
1, Adele, 25, 3.378 million, Dec. 12, 2015
2, *NSYNC, No Strings Attached, 2.416 million, April 8, 2000
3, Taylor Swift, The Tortured Poets Department, 1.914 million, May 4, 2024
4, *NSYNC, Celebrity, 1.88 million, Aug. 11, 2001
5, Eminem, The Marshall Mathers LP, 1.76 million, June 10, 2000
6, Backstreet Boys, Black & Blue, 1.591 million, Dec. 9, 2000
7, Taylor Swift, 1989 (Taylor’s Version), 1.359 million, Nov. 11, 2023
8, Eminem, The Eminem Show, 1.322 million, June 15, 2002*
9, Britney Spears, Oops! …I Did It Again, 1.319 million, June 3, 2000
10, Taylor Swift, 1989, 1.287 million, Nov. 15, 2014
(Sales source: Luminate. *All weeks are debuts, except for The Eminem Show, which debuted on the chart dated June 8, 2002, from a partial week of sales due to an off-cycle early release. The June 15, 2002, chart reflected the album’s first week of availability.)

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