Taylor Swift gives gloomy
U.S. album sales a platinum shine
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[November 06, 2014]
By Eric Kelsey
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) -
Taylor Swift's "1989," the strongest pop turn for the
longtime country singer, roared to the top of the
Billboard 200 album chart on Wednesday with the biggest
opening week in a dozen years for the declining album
Backed by No. 1 hit "Shake It Off" and weeks of TV
appearances, "1989" sold 1.3 million copies, according to
figures compiled by Nielsen SoundScan. "1989" not only goes
platinum by selling over a million units but also becomes the
top-selling album released this year.
But the best opening week since rapper Eminem's "The Eminem
Show" in 2002 may not mean much to a recording industry
grappling with consumers shifting from physical albums to
"It means less for the music industry than it does for Taylor
Swift," said analyst Bill Werde, a former editor of Billboard.
"What we've seen over the last few years is that Taylor seems to
be the last human standing that can move these kinds of albums."
Album sales are so far down 13 percent compared to last year on
top of an 8 percent decline in 2013, according to Billboard.
Swift outpaced the rest of the top five - which included the
"Now 52" compilation at No. 2, country singer Sam Hunt's "Motevallo"
at No. 3, crooner Barry Manilow's "My Dream Duets" at No. 4 and
country's Jason Aldean's "Old Boots, New Dirt" - by about 1
The 24-year-old Grammy winner has leveraged social media to push
her fifth and most pop-oriented album to date, sharing photos of
young fans posing with the album to her 46.2 million Twitter
followers, for example.
SWIFT VS. SPOTIFY
But Swift has also thumbed her nose at the fast-growing and
popular online music streaming service Spotify, pulling her
entire catalog from the platform this week without comment,
leaving some analysts puzzled by the move.
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"It shows there's still some real disconnects and real work to be
done in the music industry," Werde said.
"Streaming is the one meaningful area in the recorded music business
that is showing growth still," he added. "There are a lot a people
who think this is the future."
Swift has appeared widely on television in past weeks, including
serving as a mentor to contestants on NBC's popular TV singing
contest "The Voice," one of the industry's most coveted promotional
The album has also received favorable reviews for the singer who
appears to have shed her country roots for wider, global pop music
"What matters more and more these days is meaningful exposure of
your music to fans that are going to buy your concert tickets and
buy your merchandise and support you in all these other ways in
whatever form that happens," Werde said.
Swift's world tour last year took in $131 million, according to
trade publication Pollstar, grossing some $2.5 million per concert.
She is set to head off on another in May.
(Editing by Mary Milliken and Cynthia Osterman)
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