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Taylor Swift’s ‘Shake It Off’ Makes Record Start At Radio

The song breaks the record for the highest debut ever on Adult Pop Songs, while tying for the best start on Pop Songs.

Taylor Swift sets a record for the highest debut in the history of Billboard’s Adult Pop Songs radio airplay chart, where “Shake It Off” blasts in at No. 9.

On the Pop Songs chart, “Shake” soars in at No. 12, tying the record for the best-ever launch.

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The track’s kickstart at radio precedes its likely debut atop the airplay/sales/streaming-based Billboard Hot 100 this week. Visit on Wednesday (Aug. 28) when highlights of the chart will post. (All charts, including the full Hot 100, will update online the following day.)

“This historic launch represents impeccable set-up and teamwork with precise execution,” says Charlie Walk, executive vp Republic Records, which is promoting “Shake” to pop radio. “Most importantly, it further emphasizes the power of Taylor and her world-class music.”

Swift released her haters takedown anthem last Monday (Aug. 18, just after 2 p.m. PT/5 p.m. ET). The latest Pop Songs and Adult Pop Songs charts cover airplay from Aug. 18 through yesterday (Aug. 24), as monitored by Nielsen BDS.

“Shake” introduces 1989, Swift’s fifth studio album and first since Red two years ago. The set arrives Oct. 27 on Big Machine Records.

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“Shake” enters Adult Pop Songs as the first song to bow in the top 10 since the chart launched in Billboard magazine’s pages on March 16, 1996. It bests the No. 13 start of Alanis Morissette’s “Thank U” on Oct. 10, 1998. Like “Shake,” “Thank U” introduced a new album by a star act: Morissette’s Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie, her follow-up to Jagged Little Pill, which has sold 14.9 million copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan (making it the third-best-selling set since SoundScan began tracking sales in 1991). “Thank U” went on to spend two weeks at No. 1 on Adult Pop Songs.

On Pop Songs, which originated on Oct. 3, 1992, “Shake” matches the record No. 12 start of Mariah Carey’s “Dreamlover” (Aug. 14, 1993). That hit, too, led off a highly-anticipated album, Carey’s Music Box. The set topped the Billboard 200 for eight weeks and has sold 7.3 million.

Below “Shake” and “Dreamlover,” Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” and Justin Timberlake’s “Suit & Tie” each debuted on Pop Songs at No. 14. The former introduced her 2011 album of the same name, while the latter ushered in Timberlake’s The 20/20 Experience last year.

Taylor Swift Turns Radio On With ‘Shake It Off’

“Shake” also sets marks for the most first-week plays on each chart. With 2,813 on Adult Pop Songs, it passes the 1,909 first-week plays tallied by Maroon 5’s “Maps” when it entered at No. 16 last month. (The first single from the band’s Sept. 2 album V holds at No. 3 on the chart.) On Pop Songs, the 8,326 opening-week plays for “Shake” topple the 6,045 plays drawn by Timberlake’s “Suit” in its first week.

Helping fuel the record start for “Shake”: hourly plays on participating Clear Channel and Media Entertainment-owned pop and adult pop radio stations in its first day and a half. (Hourly rotations have become a Clear Channel trademark for high-profile releases, including “Suit.”)

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“Shake” also debuts on Adult Contemporary at No. 21 and, perhaps surprisingly, given the song’s sound and Swift’s self-acknowledged segue from country to pop music on 1989, it nudges onto Country Airplay at No. 58. KSCS Dallas led all Country Airplay reporters with 15 plays for “Shake” last week, followed by WSIX Nashville (10); no other panelist played it more than four times.

At pop radio, however, “Shake” is an irresistible instantly historic hit.

“I think it’s excellent,” says Mike Mullaney, assistant program director/music director at CBS Radio’s adult pop WBMX (Mix 104.1) Boston. “Pop music is supposed to be fun and, as far as I’m concerned … mission accomplished.”