UPDATE: “Folklore,” says hitsdailydouble.com and Buzz Angle, sold 585K downloads and streams, a total of 823,000 including streaming of singles. The hard total of 585K is 100,000 less than “Lover,” and this is because there were no CDs. I’m still skeptical since “Folklore” slowed down considerably during the week. But it’s the biggest debut of 2020, a gruesome year for music sales.
EARLIER It came out of nowhere and took off like a rocket. But a Russian rocket.
Taylor Swift’s “Folklore” took everyone by surprise when it was released a week ago. The album got outstanding reviews, and the Swifties went into action. Early says caused our friends at hitsdailydouble to speculate on 750,000 in first week sales including streaming.
Alas, “Folklore” has turned into a Grimm fairy tale. As of end of day Wednesday, sales were just 400,000 including streaming. About half of that was actual paid downloads.
By comparison, Swift’s last album, “Lover,” scored 866,800 in total sales for its debut week in August 2019. Of those, 678K were CDs and paid downloads.
“Folklore” skipped the CD stage, which obviously hurt its sales. Swifties like to own the physical product. They’ve been streaming individual tracks like crazy. But not the album. About 200,000 or more in sales were lost without the CDs. Big mistake.
At this rate, Swift lost two thirds of her potential total for “Folklore.” Still, it’s a big first week, and if the Universal radio people work the singles, maybe the album sales will grow “legs.” Even better, if Taylor does some TV, that should help.
PS in the UK, “Folklore” did 37,000 in first week sales according to Official Charts. “Lover” did 53,000. A caveat: Swift is a very American act. She’s not that big in Britain to begin with.
Final numbers from the US will be in soon. Keep refreshing…