Taylor Swift’s new album, Lover, was so big in its first week in the U.S., not only did it log the biggest week for any album — in terms of either equivalent album units earned or albums sold — since her last release, reputation, in 2017, but Lover also accounted for 27% of all album sales in the country.
According to Nielsen Music, Lover sold 679,000 copies in the week ending Aug. 29. That amounts to 27% of the total volume of all albums sold in the U.S. that week: 2.487 million (across all formats of albums: CDs, digital albums, cassettes, vinyl LPs, etc.). Or, think of it another way: a little more than one in four albums sold in the U.S. in the week ending Aug. 29 were Lover.
Having one album’s sales account for a large portion of the industry’s overall sales isn’t a new concept. Swift’s last album, reputation, held 29% of the market in its first week (1.216 million of 4.149 million), while the first week of Adele’s 25 carved out a huge 41% of the market (3.38 million of 8.2 million).
Further, thanks to Lover’s big sales, the album helped the industry yield the second-largest overall album sales week in 2019. Only the week ending April 18 tallied more sales, with 2.772 million. That week, there were 34 albums that sold at least 5,000, as compared to just 15 in the week ending Aug. 29. (Also helping in the week ending April 18: the debut of BTS’ Map of the Soul: Persona, which was the top-selling album that week with 196,000 sold.)
Lover’s first-week sales were so large, as compared to what most albums have sold in 2019, it became the biggest-selling album of 2019 after only one week on sale. The No. 2 biggest-seller of the year is Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s A Star Is Born soundtrack, with 447,000 sold in 2019 through Aug. 29.
That said, Lover’s large sales debut is an anomaly, as overall album sales continue to erode in the U.S., as more fans opt to consume music via streaming services. So far in 2019, through Aug. 29, album sales are down 19% (70 million sold year-to-date, as compared to 86.5 million sold year-to-date in 2018). In total for the 2018 year, album sales fell 17.7% to 141 million sold.