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Ask Billboard: Taylor Swift’s Career Album & Song Sales

From "Taylor Swift" to "Reputation." Plus, Keith Urban puts ladies first & a celebration of The Chainsmokers' success.

Submit questions about Billboard charts, as well as general music musings, to Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S. Or, tweet @gthot20


Can you update Taylor Swift‘s sales, please? Thanks!

Bree @013bree

Hi Bree,

With Swift having launched at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 (dated Dec. 2) with Reputation, marking her fifth No. 1, let’s recap her career sales in the U.S., according to Nielsen Music.

Album Sales
7.1 million, Fearless; 6.1 million, 1989; 5.7 million, Taylor Swift; 4.6 million, Speak Now; 4.4 million, Red; 1.2 million, Reputation (after its first week); 1.1 million, The Taylor Swift Holiday Collection (EP); 366,000, Speak Now: World Tour Live CD + DVD; 341,000, Beautiful Eyes (EP)

Swift’s career U.S. album sales stand at 31.4 million. She’s the 23rd-best-selling album artist since Nielsen Music began tracking sales in 1991, and the fifth-best-selling woman, after Mariah Carey (55.2 million), Celine Dion (52.8 million), Shania Twain (35 million) and Britney Spears (33.6 million). Garth Brooks leads all artists with 71.9 million albums sold in that span.

And …

Best-Selling Digital Songs
6 million, “Love Story”; 5.4 million, “I Knew You Were Trouble.”; 5.3 million, “Shake It Off”; 4.8 million, “You Belong With Me”; 4.5 million, “Blank Space”

4.1 million, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”; 3.4 million, “Our Song”; 3.1 million, “Bad Blood” (feat. Kendrick Lamar); 3 million, “Teardrops on My Guitar”; 2.5 million, “Mean”

2.3 million, “Mine”; 2.3 million, “22”; 2.3 million, “Highway Don’t Care” (Tim McGraw with Swift); 2.2 million, “Style”; 2 million, “Back to December”

2 million, “Wildest Dreams”; 2 million, “White Horse”; 1.9 million, “Safe & Sound” (feat. The Civil Wars); 1.7 million, “Two Is Better Than One” (Boys Like Girls feat. Swift); 1.7 million, “Picture to Burn”

1.6 million, “Today Was a Fairytale”; 1.6 million, “Tim McGraw”; 1.6 million, “Red”; 1.5 million, “Ours”; 1.5 million, “Should’ve Said No”

1.5 million, “Fifteen”; 1.4 million, “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever (Fifty Shades Darker)” (Zayn / Swift); 1.4 million, “Eyes Open”; 1.1 million, “Everything Has Changed” (feat. Ed Sheeran); 1.1 million, “Sparks Fly”

1 million, “Crazier”; 1 million, “Fearless”; 1 million, “Begin Again”; 1 million, “Both of Us” (B.o.B feat. Swift)


That’s 34 million-selling songs (and spanning country, folk, pop and R&B/hip-hop). Swift’s career song download sales: 96.5 million.


And, a podcast plug: check out the latest Billboard Chart Beat Podcast, where we pick the next potential singles from Reputation. “End Game,” featuring Ed Sheeran and Future, appears to have the inside track, per pop radio, although “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things” has emerged as a personal favorite upon repeated listenings. WHTZ (Z100) New York is jumping out on “Nice Things,” too, with 12 plays of it in the seven days ending Nov. 24. Still, that makes it the fourth-most-played Swift song on the station in that span, after current single “…Ready for It?” (49 plays), “End Game” (15) and fellow Reputation track “Delicate” (14).


Hi Gary,

It’s not too often that we see the word “female” in a song title. It’s usually “woman” or “girl,” etc. But, Keith Urban has added the latest such hit, as his “Female” debuted at No. 69 on the Dec. 2 Billboard Hot 100.

Notably, the song features backing vocals from the female who helped hold the American Music Awards that Urban won last week (Nov. 19): his wife, Nicole Kidman.

Pablo Nelson
Oakland, California


Hi Pablo,

Urban’s “Female” is just the third song in the Hot 100’s entire 59-year history with the word “female” in its title, and already the second-highest-charting. Mai Tai’s “Female Intuition” was first, reaching No. 71 in 1986. In 1999, Chely Wright set the bar with “Single White Female,” which rose to No. 36 (and topped Hot Country Songs).

Meanwhile, Urban’s new hit gives “female”s the lead over “male”s, as just two songs with “male” in their titles have graced the Hot 100 (although both charted higher than Wright’s song; then again, the top-charting “male” hit is by a female): Tina Turner’s “Typical Male” (No. 2, 1986) and Elvis Presley’s “U.S. Male,” with the Jordanaires (No. 28, 1968).


Hi Gary,

The Chainsmokers haven’t been absent from the Hot 100 since late 2015, specifically that Halloween (aka, the chart dated Oct. 31, 2015). If “Something Just Like This,” with Coldplay, departs next week’s chart – it fell to No. 49 on the Dec. 2 ranking – The Chainsmokers will be missing from the Hot 100 for the first time since “Roses” entered the list dated Nov. 7, 2015.

John Howarth

Thanks John,

It has been an extraordinary run for The Chainsmokers, who in those two-plus years posted five top 10s and made history on the Hot 100. “Closer” (featuring Halsey) spent a record 27 weeks in the top five (a mark subsequently tied by Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You”), while the pair linked 61 consecutive weeks in the top 10, the longest streak by a duo or group. “Closer” additionally ruled Hot Dance/Electronic Songs for an unprecedented 27 weeks; “Something Just Like This” ranks third with 25 weeks atop the tally.

Should The Chainsmokers end their current run on the Hot 100, another is likely imminent. “Thank you to our amazing fans for voting for us this year!,” Drew Taggart and Alex Pall tweeted after winning favorite artist/electronic dance music at the AMAs. “2018 is going to be a great year of new music! Get ready!”