Music biz casts hopeful gaze on Swift's next album

Fri Jul 23, 2010 9:18pm EDT
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By Ed Christman

NEW YORK (Billboard) - Fan anticipation is already building for Taylor Swift's "Speak Now," after the pop-country superstar revealed on Ustream that the follow-up to her multiplatinum album "Fearless" will be out October 25.

But anticipation of a different sort is building among music retail and label executives: Can "Speak Now" top U.S. debut-week sales of 1 million units? And if Swift can't attain that now-elusive milestone, can anyone?

The last album to do so was Lil Wayne's "Tha Carter III," which sold slightly more than 1 million units in its first week, the period ended June 15, 2008, and has sold 3.5 million units to date, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Since then, the closest any album has come to matching that performance was AC/DC's "Black Ice," which bowed with 784,000 units in the week ended October 24, 2008, and has sold a total of 2.2 million, according to SoundScan. Eminem's "Recovery," the sales champ of 2010 so far, debuted with 741,000 units in the week ended June 27 and has racked up total U.S. sales of 1.5 million, according to SoundScan.

Other highly anticipated albums to be released later this year include titles from Susan Boyle, Kanye West, Katy Perry, Linkin Park, Kid Rock, Norah Jones, Diddy and Lil Wayne.

In an informal survey of a dozen recording industry executives conducted by Billboard, Boyle, West and Wayne each drew votes as contenders for million-unit debut weeks. But most said they believe Swift has the best shot.


"It feels like if anybody can do it now, she could be the one," said Will Botwin, president/CEO of Red Light Management and ATO Records. "She has the sales base and heat from the last few albums. And with all the amazing things she has going on, she is as likely as anybody to reach a million units, especially with the efforts of Big Machine and Universal behind her."   Continued...

<p>Singer Taylor Swift arrives for the "Time's 100 Most Influential People in the World" gala in New York May 4, 2010. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson</p>