In about a month and a half, Taylor Swift will release her next album, 1989 (Taylor’s Version). The re-recorded edition of her pop blockbuster is already one of the most highly-anticipated drops of 2023, and when it arrives, it’s bound to launch with a huge debut sum. But just how large will that first-week number be? Can Swift manage one million units with a re-recorded album?
1989 (Taylor’s Version) will be the fourth album that Swift has re-recorded and re-released as part of a project that aims to give her some control over her first six full-lengths. Her first three all opened at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, and they’re becoming bigger and bigger with each new drop. Each subsequent title she unleashes launches atop the tally with a larger debut sales week than its predecessor, and there’s no reason to believe that 1989 (Taylor’s Version) won’t be the biggest yet.
So far, the grandest debut among Swift’s re-recorded albums belongs to her most recent, Speak Now (Taylor’s Version). That set began its time atop the Billboard 200 with 716,000 equivalent units. That’s a massive starting sum for any title, let alone a re-recorded effort. But it’s also a far cry from how the original performed.
When Swift released the original Speak Now in 2010, it hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200 immediately thanks to 1,047,000 copies sold. The re-recorded version arrived in the same position with a little less than 70% of the first edition’s first-week total.
1989 reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200 in November 2014 with 1.287 million copies sold. If 1989 (Taylor’s Version) manages the same type of performance as Speak Now (Taylor’s Version), it will quickly become her biggest re-recording yet, opening with around 875,000 equivalent units. Of course, that’s just a rough estimation based on the past performance of her previous re-recordings, but that’s not necessarily how things will work out.
1989 earned Swift her largest debut on the Billboard 200 of her career, at least until her 2022 title Midnights hit No. 1 with more than 1.5 million copies moved in its first week. Fondness for the set, which produced a trio of Hot 100 No. 1 smashes, remains incredibly high. In fact, in many regards, 1989 is Swift’s most successful album yet, and thus anticipation for its re-recording is incredibly high—perhaps more so than for her others.
Depending on how Swift promotes 1989 (Taylor’s Version) and what sales she continues to offer on special edition vinyl copies and more, there is a chance that the re-recorded album could debut with one million equivalent units shifted, though that is far from guaranteed. Swift will have to pull out all the stops to hit that sum, which appears to be within reach, but it may be a stretch.
It seems certain that 1989 (Taylor’s Version) will hit No. 1 upon its arrival, and a starting sum of at least three quarters of a million units looks likely. Whether the set actually makes it to that important milestone, which is out of reach for almost every other artist in the industry these days, won’t be known until November, when the first week numbers for 1989 (Taylor’s Version) will be published.