Folkore was released with little advance notice on July 24 and earns Swift her seventh No. 1 album.
Folklore starts with 846,000 equivalent album units earned in the U.S. in the week ending July 30, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data. That marks the largest week registered for any album since Swift’s own Lover, which debuted at No. 1 on the Sept. 7, 2019-dated chart with 867,000 units.
Further, in the last four years, the three biggest weeks for any album have been racked up by Swift. Dating back to July of 2016, the three largest frames for any album are: Swift’s Reputation (1.24 million units, Dec. 2, 2017-dated chart), Lover (867,000) and Folklore (846,000).
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 Aug. 8-dated chart (where Folklore bows at No. 1) will be posted in full on Billboard’s website on Aug. 4.
Folklore’s debut of 846,000 equivalent album units is led by 615,000 in album sales, 218,000 in SEA units (equating to 289.85 million on-demand streams of the tracks on the album), and 13,000 in TEA units.
Seventh No. 1 Album: Folklore marks Swift’s seventh No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, tying her with Janet Jackson for the third-most leaders among women in the history of the chart. Ahead of them on the leading ladies list are Barbra Streisand, with 11 No. 1s, and Madonna, with nine. Among all acts, The Beatles have the most No. 1 albums, with 19.
Before Folklore, Swift topped the chart with Lover (No. 1 for one week, Sept. 7, 2019-dated chart), Reputation (No. 1 for four weeks, 2017-18), 1989 (No. 1 for 11 weeks, 2014-15), Red (No. 1 for seven weeks, 2012-13), Speak Now (No. 1 for six weeks, 2010-11) and Fearless (No. 1 for 11 weeks, 2008-09).
Most No. 1 Debuts Among Women: All seven of Swift’s No. 1 albums have debuted at No. 1 — a record among female artists. Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Madonna and Britney Spears are tied with the second-most debuts at No. 1 among women, with six each. (Beyoncé, Gaga and Spears each have a total of six No. 1 albums — and all of them also debuted at No. 1. Meanwhile, six of Madonna’s nine total No. 1s debuted atop the list.)
Among all acts, Jay-Z has the most debuts at No. 1, with 14. All 14 of his No. 1 albums have debuted at No. 1.
2020’s Biggest Week for an Album, and Biggest for Any Album Since Swift’s Last Release, Lover: Folklore’s start of 846,000 equivalent album units marks the largest week for 2020 for any album. It blows past the previous high, which was registered just last month by the opening stanza of Juice WRLD’s Legends Never Die (497,000 units in the tracking week ending July 16; as reflected on the chart dated July 25).
In addition, Folklore nabs the biggest week for any album since Swift’s last release, Lover, less than a year ago. It launched atop the list dated Sept. 7, 2019, with 867,000 units earned in the week ending Aug. 29, 2019.
Lover was released on Aug. 23, 2019. Unlike the surprise-released Folklore, Lover was preceded by months of traditional promotion, which began with the release of the set’s first single, “Me!,” featuring Brendon Urie, on April 26, 2019.
Also, while Lover was available widely to purchase at all retailers in its first week, including Target, which carried four deluxe CD editions of the set, Folklore had a limited availability at retail in its first week. Folklore was only sold via Swift’s official webstore or via digital retailers. Folklore will be released on CD widely to all retailers on Aug. 7.
Swift Has the Three Biggest Weeks for Any Album in the Last Four Years: In the last four years, the three biggest weeks for any album have been racked up by Swift. Dating back to July of 2016, the three largest frames for any album were tallied by the debut weeks of Swift’s Reputation (1.24 million units, Dec. 2, 2017-dated chart), Lover (867,000) and Folklore (846,000).
The last time anyone not named Taylor Swift had a bigger week than Folklore was Drake, who saw his Views album launch with 1.04 million units at No. 1 on the May 21, 2016-dated chart.
Biggest Sales Week for an Album Since Lover: Folklore sold 615,000 copies in its first week, marking the largest sales frame for any album since Swift’s Lover sold 679,000 copies in its debut week (Sept. 7, 2019-dated chart).
As noted above, in Folklore’s first week of release, the album was only available to purchase through Swift’s website and digital retailers.
During the album’s first week, Swift’s webstore sold over a dozen physical/digital album bundles (with a CD, vinyl LP or cassette, plus the digital album). All of the physical/digital bundles delivered the digital version of the album upon purchase to the customer, while the physical version will ship to the customer later. Sales of such bundles — where two formats of the same album are bundled together — are counted as one sale, with the album configuration sold determined by the first version of the album that is fulfilled to the customer.
Swift’s store additionally sold an array of merchandise/digital album bundles.
‘Folklore’ Is Already 2020’s Top Selling Album: With 615,000 copies sold of Folklore in its first week, the album has already become 2020’s top selling album. It surpasses the previous top-seller, BTS’ Map of the Soul: 7, which has sold 574,000 since its release on Feb. 21.
First Act to Have Seven Different Albums Sell at Least 500,000 in a Single Week: As Folklore sold 615,000 copies in its first week, Swift becomes the first act to have seven different albums each sell at least 500,000 copies in a single week, since Nielsen Music/MRC Data began electronically tracking music sales in 1991. Swift previously achieved half-million sales frames with the debut weeks of her last six full-length studio albums: Lover (679,000, in 2019), Reputation (1.216 million, in 2017), 1989 (1.287 million, 2014), Red (1.208 million, 2012), Speak Now (1.047 million, 2010) and Fearless (592,000; 2008).
Swift was previously tied with Eminem, who has seen six of his albums each sell at least 500,000 copies in a week.
Largest Streaming Week of 2020 for an Album by a Woman: Folklore garnered 218,000 SEA units in its first week, which equals 289.85 million on-demand streams of its songs in its first week. That’s the biggest streaming week of 2020 for any album by a woman, and the biggest by a non-rap album this year. The only albums to generate bigger streaming frames in 2020 are two rap titles: Juice WRLD’s Legends Never Die, with 422.63 million in its opening week, and Lil Uzi Vert’s Eternal Atake, with 400.42 million and 348.72 million in its first and second weeks, respectively.
Folklore’s 289.85 million streams also mark the second-biggest streaming week ever for an album by a woman, behind only the debut frame of Ariana Grande’s Thank U, Next (307.07 million; chart dated Feb. 23, 2019).
At No. 2 on the new Billboard 200, Logic’s No Pressure launches with 221,000 equivalent album units earned. Of that sum, 172,000 are in album sales (supported by an array of merchandise/album bundles), 48,000 are in SEA units (equaling 65.16 million on-demand streams of the album’s songs) and 1,000 are in TEA units.
No Pressure — which Logic describes as his “farewell” effort as he announced his “retirement” — racks up his biggest week for an album since Everybody opened at No. 1 on the May 27, 2017-dated chart with 248,000 units.
No Pressure is Logic’s seventh top 10 effort, stretching back to his first chart entry, Under Pressure, which debuted and peaked at No. 4 on the Nov. 8, 2014-dated chart.
Juice WRLD’s Legends Never Die falls from No. 1 to No. 3 in its third week, after two frames on top, with 107,000 equivalent album units (down 34 percent), while Pop Smoke’s former No. 1 Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon dips 2-4 with nearly 107,000 units (down 23 percent).
The original Broadway cast recording of Hamilton: An American Musical slips 4-5 with 71,000 equivalent album units (down 9 percent). The album peaked at No. 2 on the July 18 chart after Disney+ premiered the filmed version of the Broadway show on July 3. Hamilton has now spent 27 nonconsecutive weeks in the top 10 of the Billboard 200 — the most of any cast recording since Hair hung on for 28 weeks in 1969.
Gunna’s Wunna runs 21-6 on the new Billboard 200 with a 205 percent gain in equivalent album units earned (rising to 67,000) after the former No. 1 album was reissued on July 24 with eight additional tracks. Lil Baby’s previous chart-topper, My Turn, falls 5-7 with 53,000 equivalent album units earned (down 6 percent).
The Kid LAROI makes his Billboard 200 debut with F*ck Love at No. 8, which launches with 40,000 equivalent album units earned. Of that sum, 33,000 are in SEA units (equaling 49.39 million on-demand streams of the albums songs), 7,000 are in album sales (aided by dozens of merchandise/album bundles) and a negligible sum from TEA units.
F*ck Love is the 16-year-old rapper’s (real name: Charlton Howard) first full-length mixtape. The set includes a guest turn from LAROI’s mentor, the late Juice WRLD.
Rounding out the new top 10 on the Billboard 200 are a pair of former No. 1s, as Post Malone’s Hollywood’s Bleeding shifts 7-9 with 33,000 equivalent album units (down 1 percent) and Harry Styles’ Fine Line dips 9-10 with 31,000 units (up 7 percent).