Pop

Here’s How ’Fearless (Taylor’s Version)’ Performed in Its First Week Compared to Taylor Swift’s Original ‘Fearless’

Taylor Swift
Gary Miller/FilmMagic

Taylor Swift performs in concert at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in San Antonio, Texas on June 22, 2008.

As the re-recorded version of Swift's sophomore album debuted atop the Billboard 200, the original 'Fearless' dipped in equivalent album units.

With the release of Fearless (Taylor’s Version), Taylor Swift has begun the process of rolling out the re-recorded versions of her first six studio albums, an undertaking that she announced in 2019 following the acquisition of those albums’ master recordings by Scooter Braun’s Ithaca Holdings that year. And her quest started off with a bang: the new version of Swift’s 2008 sophomore LP debuts at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart this week, with the biggest week of 2021 for any album.

As earlier reported, Fearless (Taylor’s Version) is the only No. 1 album of its kind, as a re-recorded version of another album (and one that had previously reached No. 1 itself, in 2008). And with the release of Fearless (Taylor’s Version), we can also now begin to view how the re-recorded album will impact general listenership of the original Fearless, which spawned hits like “You Belong With Me,” “Love Story” and “Fifteen” and earned Swift the album of the year Grammy award in 2010.

In the week ending April 15, Fearless (Taylor’s Version) launched with 291,000 equivalent album units, according to MRC Data, while the original Fearless earned 6,000 units, down 19% from the prior chart week. Although the original Fearless was up 15% from the prior chart frame in pure album sales, with fewer than 1000 copies sold, its total of 7.71 million on-demand streams of its songs represented a 21% drop from the prior week’s on-demand streams (9.58 million). By comparison, the new Fearless (Taylor’s Version) scored 179,000 pure album sales and 142.98 million on-demand streams of its songs in its first week of release.

Fan interest in hearing Swift’s new reinterpretations of her old songs, more than a decade after first recording them, is one factor in Fearless (Taylor’s Version) dwarfing the equivalent album units total for the original Fearless in their first head-to-head charts frame. Another is that there are more songs on Fearless (Taylor’s Version): the six “From the Vault” songs at the end of the track list -- which Swift originally recorded for the 2008 album but did not make the cut -- help contribute to the equivalent album units total for the re-recorded LP.

“You All Over Me,” which features backing vocals from Maren Morris, was released on Mar. 26 and has 20.89 million on-demand streams through Apr. 15. Meanwhile, “Mr. Perfectly Fine” is the biggest Hot 100 hit of the “From the Vault” songs thus far, hitting No. 30 on this week’s chart.

The first week of release for Fearless (Taylor’s Version) also included casual listeners being pushed to the re-recorded album by some of the biggest streaming services. Amazon Music and YouTube led to the re-recorded Fearless upon user searches, while songs from Taylor’s Version also appeared prominently on new music playlists from Spotify and Apple Music, among others.

As Swift celebrates her ninth No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 -- as well as the biggest week for a country album since 2015 -- the music industry will begin monitoring how wide the gap in listenership remains between Fearless (Taylor’s Version) and the original issue of Swift’s 2008 album. One potential indicator could be the streaming performance of “Love Story (Taylor’s Version),” the first song unveiled from the re-recorded album. Between its Feb. 12 release and Apr. 15, the new rendition has earned 46.24 million on-demand streams, compared to 19.09 million streams for the original “Love Story” over that time frame.

That’s a relatively small sample size, but as Swift remains hard at work on her next re-recorded album, no doubt she’ll also be keeping an eye on whether Fearless (Taylor’s Version) continues to outpace the original Fearless with that level of consistency.

Billboard Explains: Why Taylor Swift is Re-Recording Her Old Albums