When Taylor Swift announced she was dropping a surprise, indie-folk album at less than 24 hours notice, it was a huge departure from her usual modus operandi.
Could Swift – who has constantly set towering sales and streams marks whenever she has released a new record – possibly have the same impact with a record that moved away from her all-conquering pop style to see her collaborating with indie musicians such as The National’s Aaron Dessner and Bon Iver?
Could Folklore still deliver big numbers without her traditional run-up of smash hit singles and high-profile media appearances, and no physical albums yet in shops (although there are multiple physical editions available via her website)?
Well, we now have the answer. According to Swift’s new label, Republic Records, Folklore sold over 1.3 million copies globally in less than 24 hours.
Furthermore, despite the album's surprise release and alternative sound, Swift – a late convert to streaming – set a number of new highs on streaming services around the world. With 80.6m streams, it shattered the global record for first-day album streams on Spotify by a female artist.
On Apple Music, Folklore racked up 35.47m streams to make it the most streamed pop album in 24 hours. And it set the all-time US and global Amazon Music streaming record for an indie/alternative album. Yes, you did read indie/alternative there – proof that, after conquering country and pop, Swift is now beating the alt-rockers at their own game.
Swift’s Cardigan video has already racked up 30 million views on YouTube. Lyric videos are available for every track on the album, all of which have had in excess of 1m views.
Folklore is also possibly the best-reviewed of all Swift’s eight albums, with a 9.6 User Score on Metacritic and with huge acclaim from almost every music publication and newspaper.
* To read Music Week’s review of the album, click here. To read our guide to everything you need to know about Folklore, click here. To read our 2019 Taylor Swift cover story, click here. And to make sure you can access Music Week wherever you are, sign up to our digital issue by clicking here.