Taylor Swift’s ‘Midnights’ Blasts in at No. 1 on Billboard 200 Chart With Biggest Week for an Album in 7 Years
Taylor Swift achieves her 11th No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 chart (dated Nov. 5) as Midnights arrives with the biggest week for any album in nearly seven years. The set launches with 1.578 million equivalent album units earned in the U.S. in the week ending Oct. 27, according to Luminate. The last album to tally a larger week was the debut frame of Adele’s 25, when it bowed with 3.482 million units (Dec. 12, 2015-dated chart).
Midnights was released on Oct. 21 after being announced two months earlier by Swift at the MTV Video Music Awards (Aug. 28). No music from the album was released until the set dropped on Oct. 21, when she also issued the music video for Midnights’ first single, “Anti-Hero.” Midnights is Swift’s 10th full-length studio album and initially bowed as a 13-track standard release. Three hours after Midnights’ arrival, Swift released a deluxe version of the album (its “3am Edition”) with seven bonus tracks.
Swift now ties Barbra Streisand for the most No. 1 albums among women. Swift is also the sixth act with more than 10 No. 1 albums on the Billboard 200 since the chart began regularly publishing on a weekly basis in 1956. She joins The Beatles (who lead with a record 19 No. 1s), Jay-Z (14), Drake, Bruce Springsteen and Streisand (each with 11).
Midnights is already the year’s top-selling album by overall sales through the year, and tallies the largest sales week for an album since her own reputation debuted in 2017, the third-largest streaming week ever for an album, and the biggest sales week for a vinyl album in the modern era (since Luminate began tracking music sales in 1991).
The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week in the U.S. based on multi-metric consumption as measured in equivalent album units, compiled by Luminate. Units comprise album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). Each unit equals one album sale, or 10 individual tracks sold from an album, or 3,750 ad-supported or 1,250 paid/subscription on-demand official audio and video streams generated by songs from an album. The new Nov. 5, 2022-dated chart will be posted in full on Billboard‘s website on Tuesday (Nov. 1). For all chart news, follow @billboard and @billboardcharts on both Twitter and Instagram.
Of Midnights’ 1.578 equivalent album units earned, album sales comprise 1.140 million, SEA units comprise 419,000 (equaling 549.26 million on-demand official streams of the set’s 20 total tracks) and TEA units comprise 19,000.
Third-Biggest Streaming Week Ever: Midnights logs the third-largest streaming week ever for an album, by total on-demand official streams. It also captures the biggest streaming week for a non-R&B/hip-hop album and any album by a woman. The Nos. 1 and 2 biggest streaming weeks were logged by the debut frames of Drake’s Scorpion (745.92 million) and Certified Lover Boy (743.67 million), respectively.
Previously, Swift’s biggest streaming week for an album was tallied by the first week of Red (Taylor’s Version), with 303.23 million in 2021.
2022’s Top-Selling Album: With 1.140 million sold, Midnights is easily 2022’s top-selling album already. Previously, 2022’s top-seller — adding up all sales generated through the year — was Harry Styles’ Harry’s House, with 633,000 copies sold through Oct. 27. (In terms of total equivalent album units, Bad Bunny’s Un Verano Sin Ti is 2022’s biggest album, with 2.911 million units earned.)
Breaking down Midnights’ first-week sales of 1.140 million, physical sales comprise 980,000 (575,000 on vinyl, 395,000 on CD and 10,000 on cassette) and digital album downloads comprise 161,000.
Biggest Sales Week Since Swift’s Own reputation: The 1.140 million sales number for Midnights marks the largest sales week for any album since Swift’s own reputation debuted with 1.216 million copies sold (chart dated Dec. 2, 2017).
Swift Has Five Albums With Million-Plus Sales Weeks: Midnights is the 22nd album to sell at least 1 million copies in a single week since Luminate began tracking music sales in 1991. In total, there have been 24 instances — by 22 different albums — in which an album sold at least 1 million copies in a week. One of those albums, Adele’s 25, sold more than 1 million in three separate weeks. Swift is the only artist with five different albums to each sell at least 1 million copies in a single week in the Luminate era — Midnights, reputation, 1989, Red, and Speak Now.
Further, now with five, Swift remains the only act with at least three different albums that hit the million-sales weekly threshold. Three acts have a pair of albums that each managed a million-plus sales week: Backstreet Boys, Eminem and *NSYNC.
New Modern-Era Vinyl Sales Record: Midnights handily breaks the modern-era record for single-week vinyl album sales in the U.S. with 575,000 vinyl LPs sold. That’s the largest week for an album on vinyl since Luminate began tracking music sales in 1991. It surges past the previous high, set earlier this year, when Harry’s House debuted with 182,000 vinyl copies (week ending May 26, 2021).
Midnights is also already 2022’s top-seller on vinyl year-to-date. Previously, the year’s top-seller on vinyl was Harry’s House, with 377,000 sold through the year.
Midnights’ 395,000 in CD sales is the largest sales week for an album on CD since reputation launched with 507,000 copies sold.
Midnights arrived after months of pre-release promotion and pre-orders — and its sales figure is bolstered by an array of available versions and variants of the album. It is available to purchase in a standard digital album (both clean and explicit); a deluxe digital album (clean and explicit, each with seven additional songs); an iTunes-exclusive version with a bonus spoken word track (clean and explicit); four standard CD editions (each with a different cover, both clean and explicit); four vinyl LP editions (each with a different cover and colored vinyl); and a cassette tape. Target is also selling an exclusive “Lavender” edition of the album on CD and colored-vinyl LP, with the CD boasting three bonus tracks.
Plus, in the weeks leading up to release, Swift’s webstore sold pre-orders of signed copies of the four standard CD albums and the four standard vinyl LPs. Midnights is also available in deluxe boxed set with a CD edition of the album and a Swift-branded T-shirt, exclusively for Capital One cardholders.
Some superfans may have also been enticed to purchase all four variants of the album on either CD or vinyl, as the back covers of the four albums fit together like a puzzle to display a clock face (a literal reference to Midnights!). Swift shared the news through her social media in mid-September, saying: “If you put all the back covers together, she’s a clock. It’s a clock… It makes a clock.” (Swift’s official webstore sells hardware to hold the four CDs or the four vinyl LPs together as a wall clock.) The idea of assembling multiple versions of an album’s back cover (or cover) together to reveal a larger complete image isn’t unique to Swift, as other acts (frequently in the K-pop world) have employed a similar marketing idea.
It’s not unusual for many artists to offer variants of an album, from multiple color vinyl editions to collectible CD packages and beyond. Swift herself has rolled out albums in a similar fashion in the past — she had four different Target-exclusive variants for Lover in 2015. In 2022, acts ranging from Red Hot Chili Peppers and Ozzy Osbourne to BLACKPINK and Madonna have all leaned in to the practice of offering multiple iterations of a physical album where usually the only difference is in packaging or the color of a vinyl LP.