Taylor Swift’s Reputation is out now – but you can’t stream it anywhere.
Yup, that’s right. Taylor’s sixth studio album has released today, Nov. 10 but you won’t be able to stream it anywhere. Swift has decided to keep the album off streaming services including Apple Music and Spotify for an unannounced amount of time. You can get the album for purchase on iTunes or (get this), a hard copy disc! You can also listen for “free” for a limited time on iHeartRadio (both app and actual radio).
Before the album’s release, Taylor dropped four tacks from the LP including Billboard Hot 100 No. 1, “Look What You Made Me Do.” As of Nov. 3, Reputation boosted 400,000 pre-orders according to the Associated Press, and her label predicted 1 week sales of 2 MILLION. If she hits this number, Taylor will have the best selling album of 2017 by a long shot in just the first week alone. For reference, Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN. sold 600,000 first week, with only 353,000 of that being “traditional album sales.” This means that the remaining 227,000 were streaming equivalent.
With or without hitting the 2 million mark, it’s almost a guarantee Swift will at least hit the 1 million spot with Reputation. Her last three albums have all had sales of more than 1 million, with her latest effort, 1989, hitting 1.2 million units in 2014. If this becomes the case, Taylor will have the best-selling album by a female artist since Beyonce’s Lemonade in May 2016 (652,000 units, 1st week).
Reputation and Streaming
We live in a “streaming” world now. Most of us no longer purchase albums online (let alone hard copies). So much so that we now have charts (Billboard) and certifications (RIAA) dedicated solely to recording and recognizing streaming achievements. If you look back at the numbers presented on Kendrick’s DAMN. we see that yes, he sold albums, BUT what helped push him to the top were those streaming numbers. Based on pre-sale numbers alone for Taylor, we see that she had already surpassed Kendrick’s first week in pure album sales.
So what does this mean overall?
This means that, when executed correctly, artists can keep their work off of streaming platforms and still SELL. We saw it happen with Adele’s 25 and it worked. Adele kept 25 off any streaming platforms for 7 months and came in at an industry breaking 3.83 million albums sold first week. Looks like Taylor is following suit.
Now, I’m not saying that every single artist has the clout (lol, buzzword) to do this. There’s also the whole “genre” argument to keep in mind. Pop consumers are still more willing to purchase albums vs Hip-Hop consumers, but the point is that precedent has been set. And with so many “Hip-Hop” artists catering to “Pop” fanbases (yes, you Drake) it’s only a matter of time before we see a non-streaming Hip-Hop album on the table. But, until then, let’s see how this release week turns out for Taylor.