Taylor Swift's The Tortured Poets Department secures biggest opening for an album in seven years

Taylor Swift's The Tortured Poets Department secures biggest opening for an album in seven years

Taylor Swift has surpassed even her own stupendous sales with her 11th studio album, The Tortured Poets Department (EMI).

With sales of the kind that occurred in the pre-streaming, physical music era, Swift’s latest LP secured a huge UK opening of 270,091 units, according to the Official Charts Company. It is her 12th No.1 album and her biggest opening to date; she also achieved the albums and singles chart double for the third time.

The staggering volume of sales is underlined by the fact that The Tortured Poets Department actually outsold the rest of the combined Top 75 albums by around 3,900 units. 

The Tortured Poets Department has the biggest weekly sales since March 2017, when Ed Sheeran’s Divide achieved consumption of 303,520 in its second week at the summit. Swift’s album beat the opening for Adele’s 30 (261,856) in November 2021.

For an international artist, it’s the biggest opening week in the UK since Scissor Sisters’ Ta-Dah, which moved 288,167 on debut in 2006.

The TTPD result helped EMI to a 17.5% share of All Music – All Albums this week and a 40.3% share of physical sales. In terms of just the Top 75, EMI had a 59.48% share of artist albums.

In its opening week, The Tortured Poets Department had physical sales of 180,236 (109,392 CDs, 66,388 vinyl albums, 4,457 cassettes), 10,948 downloads and 78,907 sales-equivalent streams. 

Swift’s album has set a new UK record for vinyl sales in a week by any album in the 21st century. The previous record holder was her own Midnights, which opened with 61,948 vinyl sales in October 2022.

With 78,907 ‘sales’ from streams, The Tortured Poets Department has also beaten Midnights’ week one sales-equivalent streams total of 57,964. Agonisingly, though, it just falls short of Ed Sheeran’s record for Divide, which amassed 78,944 sales from streams in March 2017 – just 37 more than TTPD.

Taylor Swift is now equal with Bruce Springsteen and  Madonna on 12 No.1 albums, with Swift and Madonna joint equal in terms of women with the most chart-topping albums. Only The Beatles (16), Rolling Stones (14), Robbie Williams (14) and Elvis Presley (13) have more No.1 albums.

No other artist has achieved that level of chart-topping success as quickly. Swift has done it in 11 years and six months, from Red in October 2012 to The Tortured Poets Department in April 2024. The Beatles managed the feat in 14 years and one month between Please Please Me (May 1963) and The Beatles At Hollywood Bowl in June 1977.

Swift has also extended her own record in the 21st century as the only artist to claim 12 No.1 albums, all of which she has achieved consecutively.

In the singles chart, Swift earned her fourth No.1 single with Fortnight Feat. Post Malone, which debuted at the summit with 93,451 sales based largely on 10.9 million streams, as well as 1,534 downloads.

The Tortured Poets Department charted at No.3, followed by Down Bad at No.4. 

Under chart rules, primary artists are only permitted three entries. But based on raw streaming data, Swift would have had a further 28 tracks from the expanded edition of the album in the Top 40.

Swift’s album is also making a huge impact internationally. The Tortured Poets Deparment became Spotify’s most streamed album in a single week. 

It is also the first in Spotify history to reach one billion streams in a single week, a feat it managed after just five days.

PHOTO: Beth Garrabrant


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