Taylor Swift’s “Evermore” became the singer’s third album in 16 months to sell a million copies globally in its first week, and the eighth straight studio release to sell that many in a week in her career, according to Republic Records.
Only her debut album, “Taylor Swift,” failed to sell a million worldwide in at least one given seven-day period; every release since 2008’s “Fearless” has done so.
“Evermore” is certain to have a big second week, as well. That will be the first tally to include the CD version of the album, which includes two bonus tracks. The disc was not in stores until Dec. 18, a week after the release of the digital download version. (Vinyl copies will not be arriving until after the new year.)
Although Swift was famously skeptical about non-paid streaming services back in the “1989” era, she and streaming currently enjoy a highly beneficial relationship. Even if album sales are still the benchmark of preference for the Swift camp and many of her fans, individual global streams passed the half-billion mark in week one, according to Republic, with more than 100 million of those steams for the lead single, “Willow.”
Billboard reported 329,000 album units for the project’s first week, with 155,000 of those in traditional album sales and another 167,000 representing the album equivalent of 220 million str song streams. This makes it the fifth-biggest U.S. album debut of the year.
Swift’s previous album, “Folklore,” released only four and a half months ago, retains its position as the top seller of 2020, after having had the biggest debut of the year. In-between the releases of “Folklore” in July and “Evermore” in December came several Billboard chart rules changes, including one that does not allow bundles of digital and physical copies to count until the latter has shipped, which means any tandem sales of both from Swift’s website are not yet being tallied, even if the download has already been delivered.
“Evermore” has been described by Swift as a sister to the earlier album; both broke from her usual pop form for a quieter and folkier sound with the aid of collaborator Aaron Dessner of the National. Interestingly, Billboard is qualifying the new album as an alternative release, and it tops that chart as well as the overall album chart.
“Folklore” has topped or appeared high among many critics’ consensus lists for the year. The surprise release of “Evermore” Dec. 11, which came with only a day’s notice, made the album too late to be considered for most 10 best lists, although a Variety critic had the two Swift releases tied at No. 1, writing, “Either of Taylor Swift’s two 2020 releases could be a list-topper in itself. Considered in tandem — entwined, like the braid that graces the cover of “Evermore” — they add up to one of the most accomplished and filler-free double-albums, official or otherwise, in pop lore.”
“Folklore” is up for album of the year, among other prizes, at the 2021 Grammys, after her previous two releases, “Lover” and “Reputation,” were shut out from consideration for that top prize. Many have wondered if the warm reception for its quick followup, “Evermore,” will influence voting, even though the newer album fell well out of the eligibility period itself.