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Taylor Swift’s ‘Tortured Poets Department’ poised to top her sales records next week


By Alli Rosenbloom, CNN

(CNN) — Taylor Swift is already breaking hearts and records since she released “The Tortured Poets Department,” but to what extent she’s done the latter will be known in more detail when full sales figures for the album are released next week. In short: It could be historically big.

The all-encompassing Billboard 200 albums chart and the Billboard Hot 100 songs charts that will include data on the first-week performance of “Tortured Poets” won’t come out until April 28 and April 29, respectively, but here’s what we do know: The mega 31-song surprise double album released on Friday has since drawn impressive streaming numbers and became her biggest first-week sales to date, according to Billboard.

Some critical reviews have been mixed, causing the New York Times to ask whether we’ve finally had too much Taylor. But Swifties, as her dedicated fans are called, are listening – and buying – regardless.

“The Tortured Poets Department” (“TTPD”) sold 1.5 million copies in the US in its first three days. With just those figures alone, the album has posted the largest first-week sales of any album since Adele’s “25” sold 3.378 million copies in a week 2015. The album also topped Swift’s “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” first-week US sales (1.359 million copies) in only three days.

The milestones for “Tortured Poets” may have only just begun:

Billboard 200 albums chart

Among female recording artists, Swift has the most No. 1 albums on the Billboard 200 albums chart with 13. If “Tortured Poets” claims the top spot in its first week, it will be her 14th album to do so. Of Swift’s 15 albums to date (11 studio albums + four re-recorded “Taylor’s Version” releases), her 2006 self-titled debut is the only album from her discography that didn’t reach No. 1 on the Billboard 200 (it peaked at No. 5).

If “TTPD” rises to the top spot, Swift will tie Jay-Z as the artist with the second-most No. 1 albums on the chart. The Beatles currently hold the title for the most No. 1 Billboard 200 albums with 19, but Swift appears to be inching closer to challenging the legendary rock band’s record.

“Considering that she’s earned seven No. 1 albums in the last four years – not counting TTPD! – it certainly seems like she could catch up to The Beatles in a few years,” Keith Caulfield, managing director of charts & data operations at Billboard, told CNN in an email on Monday.

Billboard Hot 100 songs chart

Drake is the only other artist, of all artists, to have more songs simultaneously appear in the top 20 of Billboard’s Hot 100 songs chart than Swift, according to Billboard. In November 2022, Drake had 15 songs claim spots in the top 20. That same month, Swift had 14 songs in the top 20.

With 31 “TTPD” songs at play, she could potentially overtake Drake’s top 20 record in the weeks to come.

In 2022, Swift became the first artist in the history of the music charting site to claim all 10 spots at the same time on Billboard’s Hot 100 songs chart with tracks from “Midnights.” She has also appeared in the top five, top 10, top 20 and top 40 more than any other female artist, according to Billboard.

Streaming milestones

The “Tortured Poets” streaming milestones are equally as impressive, with the album breaking all-time historical records on the big three music streamers Apple Music, Spotify and Amazon Music.

Swift released the first 16-track album on Friday, with the 15-track “TTPD: The Anthology” coming two hours later in a surprise release.

“Once we have spoken our saddest story, we can be free of it,” she wrote as the album was released. “And then all that’s left behind is the tortured poetry.”

Her ability to continue to break records, however, is something she likely won’t be leaving behind.

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