More than 12 years after Taylor Swift notched her first No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 chart in 2008 with her second studio set Fearless, she’s back atop the list with a re-recorded version of the album, titled Fearless (Taylor’s Version). The new set is her ninth No. 1 and scores the biggest week of 2021 for any album. It launches with 291,000 equivalent album units earned in the U.S. in the week ending April 15, according to MRC Data.
The original Fearless album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart dated Nov. 29, 2008, and spent 11 nonconsecutive weeks atop the chart.
On Feb. 11, 2021, Swift announced she had re-recorded the 2008 album Fearless as Fearless (Taylor’s Version). The new 26-track album has re-recordings of all 13 songs on Fearless, along with the six bonus songs added to a 2009 reissue of Fearless (dubbed the Platinum Edition) and the 2010 single “Today Was a Fairytale.” Beyond those 20 re-recordings, Fearless (Taylor’s Version) also boasts six newly recorded “from the vault” songs that were written for the original Fearless album, but were never recorded and released until now.
Fearless (Taylor’s Version) is the only No. 1 album of its kind: a re-recording of an artist’s (own or another’s) previously released album.
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 April 24, 2021-dated chart (where Fearless [Taylor’s Version] debuts at No. 1) will be posted in full on Billboard‘s website on April 20. For all chart news, follow @billboard and @billboardcharts on both Twitter and Instagram.
Of Fearless (Taylor’s Version)’s 291,000 equivalent album units earned in the tracking week ending April 15, album sales comprise 179,000 (making it the top-selling album of the week), SEA units comprise 109,000 units (equaling 142.98 million on-demand streams of the album’s tracks) and TEA units comprise 3,000.
Re-recordings of older songs or albums are treated separately from their originals, with independent chart histories for each version. Thus, Fearless (Taylor’s Version) charts separately from the original album. The 2008 Fearless album falls off the new chart, after having re-entered a week earlier at No. 157 (chart dated April 17). In the latest tracking week, the 2008 Fearless album earned 6,200 equivalent album units (down 19%). Of that 6,200 sum, SEA units comprise 5,700 (down 21%, equaling 7.71 million on-demand streams of its tracks), album sales comprise 400 (up 15%) and TEA units comprise 100 (down 8%).
Let’s take a look at some of notable feats Swift achieves with the debut of Fearless (Taylor’s Version):
Ninth No. 1 Album: As Fearless (Taylor’s Version) marks Swift’s ninth Billboard 200 No. 1, she ties Madonna for the second-most No. 1 albums among women. Swift is closing in on Barbra Streisand’s all-time record among women of 11 No. 1 albums. Among all artists, The Beatles have the most No. 1s, with 19. Among all soloists, Jay-Z leads with 14.
Biggest Week of 2021 by Units Earned: With 291,000 equivalent album units earned, Fearless (Taylor’s Version) scores the largest week for any album in 2021. It jumps past the previous high-water mark, set when Morgan Wallen’s Dangerous: The Double Album bowed at No. 1 with 265,000 units (chart dated Jan. 23).
The Three Largest Weeks for an Album in the Last Eight Months All Belong to Swift: Since August of 2020, Swift has not only claimed three No. 1s, but also the three biggest weeks among albums in units earned. On the Aug. 8, 2020-dated chart, Folklore debuted at No. 1 with 846,000 units. Evermore arrived at No. 1 on the Dec. 26, 2020, chart with 329,000 units. And now Fearless (Taylor’s Version) starts with 291,000 units.
Biggest Week for a Country Album Since 2015: As Fearless (Taylor’s Version) bows with 291,000 units, it logs the largest week for a country album since 2015. The last country set to post a bigger frame was Luke Bryan’s Kill the Lights, which debuted at No. 1 with 345,000 units (Aug. 29, 2015-dated chart). (Country albums are defined as those that have charted on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart. Both the original Fearless album and the new Fearless [Taylor’s Version] are charting on Top Country Albums.)
Fearless (Taylor’s Version) has the biggest week for a country album by a female artist since the Billboard 200 chart transitioned from an album-sales only ranking to an equivalent album units-based chart on the Dec. 13, 2014, survey.
Strong Sales: With 179,000 copies sold in its first week, Fearless (Taylor’s Version) logs the largest sales week for an album since Swift’s own Folklore sold 615,000 copies in its first week (chart dated Aug. 8, 2020).
Largest Streaming Week for a Country Album by a Woman: Fearless (Taylor’s Version) bows with 109,000 SEA units — totaling 142.98 million on-demand streams of the album’s tracks. That hefty sum marks the biggest streaming week for a country album by a woman. It surpasses the previous record of 44.67 million streams tallied by songs on the Brenda Lee collection Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree: The Decca Christmas Recordings (Jan. 2, 2021, chart). The album was powered by Lee’s evergreen holiday track “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.”
Swift also scores the biggest debut streaming week for a country album by a woman, blowing past Maren Morris’ former high-water mark of 23.96 million streams earned by Girl on the March 23, 2019-dated chart. (Morris had a hand in helping Swift to her record — she’s featured on the Fearless [Taylor’s Version] song “You All Over Me [Taylor’s Version] [From the Vault].)
The biggest streaming week registered by any country album remains Wallen’s Dangerous, with 240.18 million streams registered in its debut frame (chart dated Jan. 23).
Swift Now Has Three of the Top Five-Selling Albums of 2021: In terms of traditional album sales, Swift already has three of the top five-selling albums of 2021 so far. Wallen’s Dangerous is tops with 218,000 copies sold, Fearless (Taylor’s Version) is No. 2 with 179,000, Carrie Underwood’s My Savior is No. 3 with 114,000, Folklore is No. 4 with just over 111,000 and Evermore is No. 5 with a little under 111,000.
Shortest Wait Between New No. 1 Albums by a Woman: Swift waited just four months between the first weeks at No. 1 for Evermore (Dec. 26, 2020) and Fearless (Taylor’s Version) (April 24, 2021). That’s the shortest gap between new No. 1 albums by a woman. Swift beats her own record, set with the four months and two weeks between the first weeks at No. 1 for Folklore (Aug. 8, 2020) and Evermore.
The last time an act had a shorter wait between No. 1s before Swift was BTS, when the group waited a little over three months between Love Yourself: Tear (June 2, 2018) and Love Yourself: Answer (Sept. 8, 2018). Prior to that, Future achieved a first by landing back-to-back new No. 1s in successive weeks in 2017 (with his self-titled album March 11, 2017 and HNDRXX on March 18, 2017).
First Woman With Three New No. 1 Albums in Less Than a Year: With eight months and two weeks between the first weeks at No. 1 for Folklore, Evermore and Fearless (Taylor’s Version), Swift becomes the first woman in the 65-year history of the chart with three new No. 1s in less than 12 months. Previously, the fastest a female artist had notched three new No. 1s was just under 14 months, when Donna Summer topped the list with Live and More (Nov. 11, 1978), Bad Girls (June 16, 1979) and On the Radio: Greatest Hits Volumes I & II (Jan. 5, 1980).
The last act to score three No. 1s faster than Swift was Future, when he logged his first three No. 1s in just six months and three weeks with DS2 (Aug. 8, 2015); What a Time to Be Alive, with Drake (Oct. 10, 2015); and Evol (Feb. 27, 2016).
Back on the new Billboard 200, DMX’s greatest hits compilation The Best of DMX soars from No. 73 (its prior peak) to No. 2 following the rapper’s death on April 9. The set earned 77,000 equivalent album units (up 544%) in the week ending April 15. Of that sum, 59,000 comprise SEA units (up 508%, equaling 88.56 million on-demand streams of the album’s songs), 9,000 comprise album sales (up 733%) and 9,000 comprise TEA units (up 666%).
The 21-track Best of DMX includes such hit singles as “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem,” “Party Up (Up in Here)” and “X Gon’ Give It to Ya.”
The Best of DMX marks the late star’s highest charting album, and first top 10, since 2006’s Year of the Dog… Again debuted and peaked at No. 2. In total, The Best of DMX marks his seventh top 10 album, as he also opened his chart career with five consecutive No. 1s between 1998 and 2003.
DMX has two more albums on the latest Billboard 200, as his former No. 1s It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot, from 1998 (No. 46; 14,000 equivalent album units, up 458%), and Flesh of My Flesh Blood of My Blood, from 1999 (No. 107; 9,000 units, up 469%) re-enter the list.
Justin Bieber’s Justice falls 1-3 in its third week on the Billboard 200, earning 60,000 equivalent album units (down 20%). Three more former No. 1s are next on the list, as Wallen’s Dangerous is steady at No. 4 with 58,000 units (down 8%), Rod Wave’s SoulFly dips 3-5 with 55,000 units (down 19%) and Ariana Grande’s Positions bolts 17-6 with 54,000 units (up 138%). Positions zooms back into the top 10 following the April 9 release of its vinyl LP and cassette, which powers the bulk of the set’s 35,000 in album sales for the week (up 1,613%).
The Weeknd’s best-of set The Highlights slips 6-7 with 41,000 equivalent album units (down 4%), Lil Tjay’s Destined to Win falls 5-8 with 38,000 units (down 39%), Pop Smoke’s former No. 1 Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon descends 7-9 with 36,000 units (down 5%) and Dua Lipa’s Future Nostalgia slips down 9-10 with 33,000 units (down 3%).
Editor’s Note: This story was updated on April 19 to note that Fearless (Taylor’s Version) had the largest sales week for an album since the debut of Folklore last year (not since Evermore, as previously reported), and to remove a sentence that misstated the total album sales of the original Fearless and 1989 albums.