Taylor Swift tops album charts

Wed Nov 19, 2008 10:19am EST
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By Mike Collett-White

LONDON (Reuters) - Teenaged singer and songwriter Taylor Swift topped the U.S. album charts on Wednesday with her second album "Fearless," according to record label Universal, which has signed an international marketing deal with the star.

Universal Music Group, the world's biggest music company, said Fearless sold 592,000 copies in the last week in the United States, making it one of the biggest releases to date this year.

It was the largest opening U.S. sales week in 2008 by a female artist and the fourth biggest overall, behind Lil Wayne, AC/DC and Coldplay.

Fearless also appears to have boosted sales of Swift's 2006 debut "Taylor Swift," which this week rose to number 21 in the Billboard 200 chart, from 26th last week. That album has sold 3.5 million copies to date in the United States.

Swift, 18, has been billed as one of pop music's biggest young stars, although her success to date has been almost exclusively in North America.

Universal wants to change that by signing a license agreement with Swift's label Big Machine Records to promote her internationally. Universal already distributes her records in the United States.

"She is by some distance the biggest breakthrough for an American artist in America over the last year," said Max Hole, executive vice president of Universal Music Group International.

Asked if Swift's association with country music, a genre that does not always travel well outside the United States, might be a problem, Hole told Reuters:   Continued...

<p>Country music star Taylor Swift arrives for the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards in Los Angeles September 7, 2008. REUTERS/Phil McCarten</p>