Taylor Swift has faced a big question as she has geared up for Friday's release of her sixth album: Could she extend the streak she established with her previous three albums, which each sold more than 1 million copies in the first week of release?
Now, it seems, the relevant question is how close to doubling that figure "Reputation," her latest release, might come.
Swift's label, Big Machine Records, has jettisoned the conservative projections it held out for "Speak Now" in 2010, "Red" in 2012 and "1989" three years ago, Billboard reports. The label is estimating "Reputation" will double the first-week equivalent sales of her previous efforts.
"That's despite the fact that the U.S. music industry is far more dependent on streaming than sales than it was in 2014, with album sales down 18 percent so far this year while audio-on-demand streams -- the only streams that count toward the Billboard 200 -- are up 59 percent year to date," Billboard notes.
Big Machine has withheld "Reputation" from streaming services initially, as it has done with Swift's other albums, a move that pushes fans most interested in hearing her new music immediately to purchase physical or digital copies. The only other outlet for hearing "Reputation" is an exclusive deal Big Machine struck with media conglomerate iHeartRadio, using its marketing site Hit Nation.
The Associated Press reported that "Reputation" had racked up 400,000 advance orders. No one, however, appears to expect that the album can equal or surpass the first-week record holder, Adele's "25," which sold 3.4 million copies in its first week of release in 2015. That album also was withheld from streaming services for seven months, which helped drive sales.
In any event, "Reputation" is expected to become this year's top-selling album, surpassing the current front-runner, Kendrick Lamar's "Damn."
Meanwhile, Swift is due to perform on NBC's "Saturday Night Live" this weekend. She'll also anchor iHeartRadio station KIIS-FM's Jingle Ball at the Forum in Inglewood on Dec. 1, along with Sam Smith, Ed Sheeran, Demi Lovato, the Chainsmokers, Kesha, Halsey, Niall Horan and a slew of other pop stars.
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