Taylor Swift’s Red (Taylor’s Version) is red-hot. In its first five days of release, the album has already logged the second-largest week for any album in 2021 in the U.S., and the biggest sales week of the year for any album. Plus, she’s broken – yet again – the record for the largest sales week for a vinyl album in the modern era.
According to initial reports to MRC Data through Nov. 16, the album, which was released on Nov. 12, has earned over 500,000 equivalent album units in the U.S., of which 325,000 are in album sales. And, of that sales figure, 105,000 are in vinyl LP sales – a new single-week record for a vinyl album since MRC Data began tracking sales in 1991.
The current tracking week ends at the close of business on Nov. 18. Billboard is scheduled to announce the album’s official final first-week numbers on Sunday, Nov. 21, after MRC Data has completed processing the week’s data.
The debut of Drake’s Certified Lover Boy is the largest week of 2021 by units, 613,000. And the previous largest sales week of the year was held by Swift’s latest studio album of all-original material, Evermore, when it sold 192,000 copies in the week ending June 3, following its release on vinyl LP. That week also marked the largest week in MRC Data history for a vinyl album, with 102,000 copies of Evermore sold – until Red (Taylor’s Version) this week.
If Red (Taylor’s Version) debuts at No. 1 on the Nov. 27-dated Billboard 200 chart (which reflects the tracking week ending Nov. 18), Swift’s tally of No. 1s will rise to 10, making her the second female artist with 10 leaders, following Barbra Streisand, with 11. The Beatles continue to hold the record for the most No. 1 albums on the chart, with 19. The top 10 of the Nov. 27-dated Billboard 200 chart is scheduled to be announced on Sunday, Nov. 21.
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.
Swift has the three largest sales weeks of 2021 for an album – as her first re-recorded album, Fearless (Taylor’s Version), is in third place. It debuted with 179,000 copies sold in the week ending April 15. among all albums and artists
Swift’s sizzling sales for Red (Taylor’s Version) precedes the arrival of Adele’s 30, which, based on her sales track record, should be a blockbuster seller. 30 is scheduled for release on Nov. 19 and is Adele’s first album since 25, which was released in 2015 and sold 3.38 million copies in its first week in the U.S., the largest sales week for an album in MRC Data history. 30 will be released on CD, vinyl LP, cassette and digital download concurrently.
Red (Taylor’s Version) is the second re-recorded album from Swift, following Fearless (Taylor’s Version), which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart (dated April 24) and returned to No. 1 for a second week (Oct. 16 chart) following its release on vinyl LP and signed CD. Fearless (Taylor’s Version) marked Swift’s ninth No. 1 and third chart-topper in less than a year, following Evermore and Folklore.
Fearless (Taylor’s Version) debuted with 291,000 equivalent album units earned in the U.S. in its first week – of which 179,000 were in album sales.
Helping sales of Red (Taylor’s Version) is the fact that it was released on CD, digital download and vinyl LP all on Nov. 12. That’s unlike Fearless (Taylor’s Version) and Evermore, which both saw staggered releases for its formats, with their hefty-selling vinyl LPs arriving months after the album’s original release.
Evermore was released as a digital download on Dec. 11, 2020. Its CD followed on Dec. 18, its cassette dropped on Feb. 12, 2021, and its vinyl LP arrived on May 28. As for Fearless (Taylor’s Version), it was released on both digital download and CD on April 9, followed by its cassette on July 16 and its vinyl LP on Oct. 1. (A cassette edition of Red [Taylor’s Version] has not been announced.)
Red (Taylor’s Version) is a re-recording of her 2012 No. 1 studio album. The new 30-track set contains new versions of the original album’s 16 songs, along with its four deluxe edition bonus tracks and the 2012 charity single “Ronan.” Nine additional “From the Vault” recordings complete the new project: six previously unreleased tracks that were written for Red, a 10-minute version of the album’s “All Too Well,” and Swift’s solo renditions of the songs “Better Man” and “Babe.” The latter two tracks were written for Red, but not released by Swift at the time, and later recorded and released by Little Big Town and Sugarland, respectively.