Taylor Swift is poised to become the first female artist in the Nielsen SoundScan era (1991 to present) to have a pair of albums sell more than a million units in a single week.
According to industry sources, first-day sales for "Red" (Monday, Oct. 22) surpassed 500,000 units, including a record opening day sum at Target, as the mass-merchant scored exclusive rights to the album's deluxe version which includes three additional songs and three remixes. According to sources, Target shifted more than 160,000 units.
Though not confirmed, unit sales at the iTunes Music Store appears to have also been record-setting. The digital retailer reportedly accounted for nearly half of all units sold on "Red's" first day of availability. With that start, "Red" should break the first-week iTunes sales mark, recently set by Mumford & Sons "Babel," which moved roughly 390,000 units just three weeks ago, according to those in the know. The projected first-day sales of "Red" along with full-week estimates from industry prognosticators point to the set most likely surpassing the 1-million sales mark in its debut frame.
Swifts last studio set, "Speak Now," debuted on the Billboard 200 chart dated Nov. 13, 2010, with 1.047 million units. Only one album since that date, Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" (1.108 million) has surpassed 1 million units in a single week. Gaga's final number was aided by Amazon MP3's sale pricing of the set at 99 cents for two days during release week.
If "Red" reaches 1 million units in the current SoundScan sales week (which concludes this Sunday, Oct. 28), it will be the 18th album in the Nielsen era to reach that magical seven-figure threshold.
Only three acts have ever surpassed 1 million units in a sales frame with a pair of albums: Backstreet Boys ("Millenium" in 1999 and "Black & Blue" in 2000), 'N Sync ("No Strings Attached" in 2000 and "Celebrity" in 2001) and Eminem ("The Marshall Mathers LP" in 2000 and "The Eminem Show" in 2002).
Final numbers will be announced next Tuesday evening, Oct. 30, although Billboard will update the sales progress of "Red" throughout the week.