Chart Beat

Taylor Swift Has the Top-Selling Album of the Year in U.S. for Historic Fifth Time

Taylor Swift
Beth Garrabrant

Taylor Swift

She’s the first act to have the year’s top-selling album five times since MRC Data’s first full year of tracking in 1992.

Taylor Swift’s Folklore finishes 2020 as the top-selling album of the year in the U.S., and the only album to sell at least a million copies during the year, according to MRC Data. Plus, the superstar has now claimed the top-selling album of the year five times  — becoming the first act to earn the honor dating to MRC Data’s first full year of tracking in 1992.

Folklore was released on July 24 and sold 1.276 million copies through Dec. 31, 2020.

Swift also logged the top-selling album of the year in the U.S. in 2019 (Lover, 1.09 million), 2017 (Reputation, 1.9 million), 2014 (1989, 3.66 million) and 2009 (Fearless, 3.22 million).

In both 2020 and 2019, only one album sold a million copies in the U.S., and both were by Swift.

Strikingly, just three of the top-selling albums of the last 12 years have been by an act other than Swift or Adele. The latter had the top-seller in 2016 and 2015 (25, with 1.73 million and 7.44 million sold in those years, respectively) and in 2012 and 2011 (21, with 4.41 and 5.82 million). The only non-Swift or Adele acts with the top-selling album between 2009 and 2020 were Eminem (Recovery, 2010; 3.41 million), Justin Timberlake (The 20/20 Experience, 2013; 2.43 million) and the multi-artist soundtrack to The Greatest Showman (2018, 1.49 million).

Swift has two of the top 10 selling albums of 2020, as her most recent album, Evermore (released on Dec. 11), was the year’s No. 10 seller with 283,000 copies sold through Dec. 31. Both Folklore and Evermore were released with little notice, and both opened at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart. The latter gave Swift her eighth leader on the tally.

TOP 10 SELLING ALBUMS OF 2020 IN U.S.
1. Taylor Swift, Folklore (1.276 million)
2. BTS, Map of the Soul: 7 (674,009)
3. The Weeknd, After Hours (480,000)
4. Harry Styles, Fine Line (420,000)
5. Billie Eilish, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? (348,000)
6. Lady Gaga, Chromatica (331,000)
7. Juice WRLD, Legends Never Die (301,000)
8. Halsey, Manic (301,000)
9. Eminem, Music to Be Murdered By (287,000)
10. Taylor Swift, Evermore (283,000)
Source: MRC Data, for the tracking period Jan. 3, 2020, through Dec. 31, 2020.