Chart Beat

Taylor Swift’s ‘Folklore’ Rules for Fourth Week at No. 1 on Billboard 200 Albums Chart

Taylor Swift
Beth Garrabrant

Taylor Swift

It’s the first by a woman to log its first four weeks on the chart at No. 1 since 2015.

Taylor Swift’s Folklore is No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart for a fourth straight week, becoming the first album by a woman to spend its first four weeks at No. 1 in nearly five years.

Folklore earned 101,000 equivalent album units in the U.S. in the week ending Aug. 20 (down 26%), according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data. It’s the fourth straight week the set has tallied at least 100,000 units -- a rarity for a non-R&B or hip-hop album.

Folklore launched at No. 1 on the chart dated Aug. 8 with 846,000 units -- the biggest week of 2020, and the largest for any album since Swift’s last release, Lover, bowed at No. 1 with 867,000 units on the Sept. 7, 2019, chart.

The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week in the U.S. based on multi-metric consumption as measured in equivalent album units. Units comprise album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). Each unit equals one album sale, or 10 individual tracks sold from an album, or 3,750 ad-supported or 1,250 paid/subscription on-demand official audio and video streams generated by songs from an album. The new Aug. 29-dated chart (where Folklore spends a fourth week at No. 1) will be posted in full on Billboard's website on Aug. 25.

Of Folklore’s units earned in the newest tracking week, SEA units comprise 53,000 (down 22%, equaling 70.48 million on-demand streams of the album’s songs), album sales total 46,000 (down 31%) and TEA units equal 2,000 (up 73%).

In the week ending Aug. 20, Folklore benefited from the release of a deluxe version of the album at digital retailers and streamers that added a bonus track, “The Lakes,” which was previously exclusive to the physical formats of the album. In addition, Swift dropped new merchandise/album bundles in her official webstore and sold signed Folklore CDs at independent record stores (which generated buzz with Swift fans and indie store owners).

Concurrently, three different Folklore singles are continuing to make inroads at radio. On the most recently published airplay charts (dated Aug. 22, reflecting the tracking week ending Aug. 16), former No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 hit “Cardigan” climbed 22-18 on the Pop Songs airplay chart; “Exile,” featuring Bon Iver, rose 27-29 on the Adult Alternative Songs airplay tally and “Betty” bounced 52-49 on Country Airplay.

100,000 Units in Four Weeks: As Folklore earned 101,000 equivalent album units in its fourth week, it’s just the second album in 2020 to yield at least 100,000 units in each of its first four weeks. Beginning in July, rapper Pop Smoke’s Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon also saw its first four weeks tally at least 100,000 units. (Another hip-hop set, Juice WRLD’s Legends Never Die, is the only other album with four weeks of 100,000-plus units in 2020, but they were nonconsecutive.)

Folklore is the first non-R&B/hip-hop album to earn four weeks of 100,000-plus units since Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s A Star Is Born soundtrack notched a fourth, and final, nonconsecutive week of 100,000-plus units on March 9, 2019.

Further, Folklore is the first non-R&B/hip-hop effort to see its first four weeks each earn 100,000-plus since Swift’s own Reputation (Dec. 2-23, 2017).

First Album by a Woman to Spend Its First Four Weeks at No. 1 Since 2015: As Folklore spends a fourth week at No. 1, it becomes the first album by a woman to rule for its first four weeks since Adele’s 25 topped the list in its first seven weeks (of its total of 10 nonconsecutive weeks at No. 1). 25 debuted at No. 1 on the Dec. 12, 2015-dated chart, and was No. 1 through Jan. 23, 2016. It then returned to No. 1 on Feb. 13, 2016 for one week, and then for two more weeks on March 5-12, 2016.

The last album by any act to spend its first four weeks at No. 1 -- and the only other album to do so in 2020 aside from Folklore -- was The Weeknd’s After Hours (April 4-25).

Since Adele’s 25, the only albums by women with four total weeks at No. 1 are Swift’s Reputation (four weeks; with three in a row between Dec. 2-16, 2017, and one more at No. 1 on Jan. 6, 2018) and Lady Gaga’s A Star Is Born soundtrack, with Bradley Cooper (four weeks; with three consecutive between Oct. 20 and Nov. 3, 2018, and one more on March 9, 2019).

Bonus fun fact: Folklore is Swift's first album to spend its first four weeks at No. 1. She previously saw three albums (Reputation, 1989 and Red) each tally their first three weeks at No. 1.

Could ‘Folklore’ Go for Five? If Folklore spends a fifth week at No. 1, it will become the first album to spend its first five weeks at No. 1 since Drake’s Scorpion (July 14-Aug. 11, 2018).

Further, if Folklore nabs a fifth week in charge, it will tie Lil Baby’s My Turn for the most total weeks at No. 1 in 2020. My Turn debuted at No. 1 on the March 24 chart, and then returned for four straight weeks in the lead from June 20 through July 11.

At No. 2 on the new Billboard 200, Pop Smoke’s Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon is up one spot with 86,000 equivalent album units earned (down 7%). Juice WRLD’s Legends Never Die dips 2-3 with 79,000 units (down 32%).

Taylor Swift on the 'Betty' Characters in 'Folklore' | Billboard News

Rapper Young Dolph logs his second top 10 album as Rich Slave starts at No. 4 with 65,000 equivalent album units earned. Of that sum, 33,000 comprise SEA units (equaling 44.31 million on-demand streams of the set’s songs), 32,000 are album sales and a negligible sum are TEA units. The set’s sales were bolstered by merchandise/album bundles sold via the artist’s webstore.

In total, Rich Slave is Young Dolph’s ninth charting effort since arriving on the list in 2016. He previously visited the top 10 with Dum and Dummer, a collaborative set with Key Glock that debuted and peaked at No. 8 in August 2019.

The original Broadway cast recording of Hamilton: An American Musical climbs 6-5 with 56,000 equivalent album units earned (down 9%). Rod Wave’s Pray 4 Love falls 4-6 with 48,000 units (down 36%), Lil Baby’s My Turn rises 9-7 with 44,000 units (down 6%), DaBaby’s Blame It on Baby is steady at No. 8 with 39,000 units (down 27%) and Post Malone’s Hollywood’s Bleeding ascends 11-9 with 31,000 units (down 4%).

Harry StylesFine Line closes out the top 10, as it returns to the region with a 12-10 bump and 30,000 equivalent album units earned (down 7%).