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Taylor Swift’s Tortured Poets Department hits number one, breaking records as it goes



Taylor Swift’s Tortured Poets Department hits number one, breaking records as it goes

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Taylor Swift in the middle of a purple patch, literally and figuratively

Taylor Swift’s latest album, The Tortured Poets Department, has topped the UK charts with the biggest first-week sales in seven years.

The 31-track double album shifted 270,000 UK chart units in seven days, eclipsing her previous personal best of 204,000 for her 2022 album, Midnights.

The last time an album sold more in its first week was in 2017, when Ed Sheeran’s Divide sold 670,000 copies.

Swift now matches Madonna as the female artist with the most UK number ones.

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We’re bringing up Taylor Swift’s history: from dizzying Grammy records to reaching billionaire status and everything in between.

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Both stars have achieved 12 chart-topping albums in their career. Only four acts can claim more – The Beatles (16), The Rolling Stones (14), Robbie Williams (14) and Elvis Presley (13).

Bruce Springsteen also has 12 number ones, meaning Swift has also drawn level with The Boss.

The Tortured Poets Department was released last Friday as a 16-track standalone album. Two hours later, Swift surprised fans by issuing a second volume, titled The Anthology, containing 15 extra tracks.

Taken as a whole, the project is a voyage through two tumultuous years of the star’s personal life, as she has navigated heartache, criticism and the trappings of fame.

The same publication’s Rob Sheffield disagreed, calling the album a “wildly ambitious… cathartic confession” that could be the star’s “most personal album yet“. Helen Brown in the Independent agreed: “The whole album is a terrific reminder of the intense, personal connection Swift can conjure in song.”

Fans either didn’t mind about any lukewarm reviews or didn’t care. The album has broken dozens of records in its first week of release. Here is a round-up of them:

First album to reach one billion Spotify plays in a week

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By the end of Friday, The Tortured Poets Department had become Spotify’s most streamed in a single day.

Five days later, it was streamed for the billionth time – the first album ever to achieve that feat.

Beating The Beatles

No other artist has notched up a dozen number one albums in the UK so quickly.

Swift took 11 years and six months, starting with Red in October 2012. This surpasses The Beatles, who managed the feat in 14 years and one month between Please Please Me (May 1963) and The Beatles At Hollywood Bowl (June 1977).

Single-week vinyl sales record

In the US, Tortured Poets is projected to sell more than 1.8 million copies this week.

Of those, 700,000 of those sales were on vinyl – breaking Swift’s own record for the largest sales week for an album on vinyl since modern tracking began in 1991.

Her previous record, of 693,000, was set just six months ago, with the release of 1989 (Taylor’s Version).

Spotify’s most-streamed song in a single day

Fortnight, which features guest vocals from Post Malone, is the both the first single and the first track on The Tortured Poets Department.

Last Friday alone, it was streamed 25.2 million times – breaking the record for the song with the most plays in a single day.

The previous record was set on Christmas Eve 2023, when 23.7 million people played Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You.

Biggest streaming week of all time (US)

In its first six days, Tortured Poets racked up 799 million streams across all platforms in the USA.

That easily surpasses Drake’s previous record of 746 million with his 2018 release, Scorpion.

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In the UK singles chart, Swift also holds the number one position this week with Fortnight. Two other Tortured Poets songs make the top five – with the title track at number three and Down Bad at four.

Swift is stopped from having more entries in the Top 40 by a rule that only allows three songs from one artist to chart at the same time.

The Official Charts Company says the limit means that newer artists aren’t starved of the opportunity to get noticed.

Last week’s number one, Too Sweet by Irish singer Hozier, has dropped one place to number two. Sabrina Carpenter’s prospective summer anthem Espresso has risen one place from number six to complete the top five.

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