Taylor Swift released her much-anticipated new edition of 1989 (Taylor’s Version) on Friday (October 27), and there are early indications that it’s set for a blockbuster opening.
1989 was released in 2014 and saw Swift pivot from country to pop in triumphant fashion. It is her biggest-selling album to date in the UK.
The 21-track album of new recordings, released via EMI, is the fourth instalment of the Taylor’s Version albums. The new edition features five never before released songs: “Slut!”, Say Don’t Go, Now That We Don’t Talk, Suburban Legends and Is It Over Now? The deluxe edition features a re-recording of Bad Blood featuring Kendrick Lamar.
It’s too early for an album sales snapshot of 1989 (Taylor’s Version), but there are early signs that it will be another huge opening week for Swift. On her recent album campaigns, Swift has achieved substantial totals for both streaming and physical, at a time when vinyl sales are continuing to grow in the overall market.
The obvious clue to the new version of 1989’s albums chart performance is the streaming impact on the UK singles chart. According to the Official Charts Company and Radio 1’s First Look Chart, Swift is currently on course for a Top 3 takeover with “Slut!” at No.1, followed by Style at No.2 and Is It Over Now? at No.3.
Under chart rules, primary artists are only permitted three entries, otherwise Swift’s chart domination could be even more emphatic. Based on that early streaming impact, 1989 (Taylor’s Version) looks like being in contention to achieve the year’s biggest weekly streaming total, in addition to its physical sale.
According to Official Charts Company data, Drake secured the biggest weekly streaming total for an album so far in 2023 when Drake's For The Dogs open with 28,953 sales-equivalent streams.
In an update via social media based on consumption during release day (October 27) for 1989 (Taylor’s Version), Spotify confirmed that Taylor Swift became the most streamed artist in a single day in Spotify history, and 1989 (Taylor's Version) became Spotify's most streamed album in a single day in 2023 so far.
She’s done it again ????On October 27th, Taylor Swift became the most-streamed artist in a single day in Spotify history, and 1989 (Taylor's Version) became Spotify's most-streamed album in a single day in 2023 so far. pic.twitter.com/cLFizApdIo— Spotify (@Spotify) October 28, 2023
The two prior Taylor’s Version albums achieved substantial first week sales. In July, Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) opened at the summit with sales of 67,112, following the No.1 2021 remake of Red, which had first week consumption of 72,319.
For the record, Speak Now’s original edition opened at No.6 with 28,223 sales in 2010; Red debuted at No.1 with 61,779 sales in 2012. So in both cases, Swift increased sales compared to the record’s first chart appearance. Any improvement of more than 6.2% on the 90,336 opening sales for 1989 in November 2014 would deliver Swift the biggest week one sale of 2023 so far (Lewis Capaldi managed sales of 95,882).
Fearless (Taylor’s Version) was the first release in the series and debuted at No.1 (21,145 sales) in April 2021. In that case, however, there was no improvement in sales, only in the chart performance. Fearless, Swift’s second album and her chart breakthrough, originally peaked at No.5 in the UK in 2009 with sales of 33,829.
With the release of 1989 (Taylor’s Version), Swift could well be in competition with herself in terms of opening sales. She scored her biggest ever week one sales in 2022 with her most recent studio album, Midnights, which opened with consumption of 204,501 – the biggest seven-day total of the year and a result not bested since then.
The latest Taylor’s Version LP has a lot to live up to given the original’s huge success back in 2014. In the US, 1989 had the highest first week sales of any other album in over a decade, with Swift becoming the first artist to have three albums each sell more than one million copies within the first week.
The original version of 1989, which debuted at No.1, has UK sales to date of 1,729,478 over the last nine years, according to the Official Charts Company. It climbed the chart last week, 13-8, with sales of 5,975 (up 12.7%).
The release of 1989 (Taylor’s Version) coincides with The Eras Tour concert film in cinemas. Earlier this month, it became the UK and Ireland’s highest-grossing event cinema release ever. The film, released by Trafalgar Releasing, took £5.7m in its first three days to top the UK box office
In the singles chart published on Friday (October 27), Taylor Swift’s Cruel Summer moved 14-3 (34,619 sales, up 147.7% week-on-week), though it now faces being squeezed out by tracks from 1989 (Taylor’s Version).
Cruel Summer has become Swift’s 10th No.1 single in the US and Canada, following the release of new mixes and The Eras Tour concert film.
The Taylor’s Version project enables Swift to regain control of her work as re-recordings. Her former label, Big Machine, was acquired by Scooter Braun in 2019. Swift signed a new deal with Republic and Universal Music Group in 2018, with 2019’s Lover album the first release under that partnership.
PHOTO: Beth Garrabrant