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As expected, Taylor Swift’s blockbuster 1989 album spends a second week at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart.
The set sold 402,000 copies in the week ending Nov. 9, according to Nielsen SoundScan — down a moderate 69 percent compared to its 1.287 million bow.
The album’s second-week haul is the second-biggest week for an album in 2014, following 1989′s debut a week earlier. 1989 has sold 1.688 million copies in its first two chart weeks.
Swift’s last album, 2012′s Red, fell by 72 percent in its sophomore frame (1.21 million to 344,000). The album before that, Speak Now, also started with more than a million (1.047 million) and slipped by 69.5 percent (to 320,000) in week two.
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Taylor Swift’s decision to remove her music this week from Spotify is a “big fist in the air” that other prominent artists are sure to follow, says her longtime record label president.
In the week she sold 1.3 million copies of her new album 1989, Swift abruptly pulled her single “Shake It Off” and all of her previously released music from the streaming service, frustrating its 40 million users. “We never wanted to embarrass a fan,” says Scott Borchetta, president of Big Machine Label Group, in a radio interview with Motley Crue’s Nikki Sixx, of all people. “If this fan went and purchased the record, CD, iTunes, wherever, and then their friends go, ‘why did you pay for it? It’s free on Spotify,’ we’re being completely disrespectful to that superfan.”
Artists from Radiohead’s Thom Yorke to Talking Heads’ David Byrne have been harshly critical over the past few years of Spotify’s model, which allows fans to listen to tens of millions of songs for free but pay $5 or $10 a month for its premium, advertising-free service. Swift has “windowed” her last few albums on Spotify, allowing the service to post the album a few months after their release dates, but she changed her policy this week. “I’m not willing to contribute my life’s work to an experiment that I don’t feel fairly compensates the writers, producers, artists, and creators of this music,” she told Yahoo. “And I just don’t agree with perpetuating the perception that music has no value and should be free.”
Borchetta echoed those remarks. “They have a very good player. It’s a good service. And they’re going to just have to change their ways on how they do business. If you’re going to do an ad-supported free service, why would anybody pay for the premium service?” he said on the national radio show Sixx Sense with Nikki Sixx. “It can’t be endless free. Give people a 30-day trial, and then make them convert. Music has never been free. It’s always cost something and it’s time to make a stand and this is the time to do it.”
Swift’s latest album, as well as her older music, remain available, by design, via pay-to-stream services such as Beats Music, Rhapsody and Tidal, Borchetta says — although he didn’t mention YouTube, which has been streaming songs from 1989 for free all week.
Spotify is not an illegal music service like the original Napster. The Swedish company pays hundreds of millions of dollars to license songs from all the major record labels, including Universal Music, which distributes Swift’s songs and the rest of Big Machine’s catalog. Although Spotify acknowledges artist royalties amount to per-stream payouts between $0.006 and $0.0084, its officials say the payments will increase as more people listen to ads and pay for premium subscriptions.
Plus, Spotify defenders say, it’s better for fans to hear 1989 or any other music through an ad-supported service than lose the sale completely via online piracy. “If you’ve got millions and millions of people using those services, at least they’re in a commercial ecosystem,” says a source at a major record label. “Before, they weren’t — they were completely un-monetized.”
Still, Borchetta criticized Spotify for its lack of flexibility. “They take [the music], and they say, ‘We’re going to put it everywhere we want to put it, and we really don’t care about what you want to do. Give us everything that you have and we’re going to do what we want with it.’ And that doesn’t work for us. . . . They just need to be a better partner.”
Added new pictures of Taylor at The Elvis Duran Z100 Morning Show in New York City today October 31, 2014. Check them out!
Taylor Swift’s 1989 continues to rack up monster sales, as industry forecasters now say the album could sell 1.2 million copies in its first week (ending Nov. 2).
It’s thus nearing the 1.21 million bow of her last album, 2012′s Red (which was also the last release to sell a million copies in a week, according to Nielsen SoundScan).
The new album was released through Big Machine Records on Oct. 27 and is Swift’s fifth studio album. It should easily debut atop next week’s Billboard 200 chart, when its top 10 is revealed (along with Swift’s official sales figure) on Wednesday, Nov. 5.
Sources say 1989 sold more than 600,000 albums in its first day on sale, mostly from Target (which carried an exclusive version of the album) and Apple’s iTunes Store. Apple says 1989 broke the pre-order record in its U.S. store, surpassing One Direction’s 195,000 pre-order figure for last year’s Midnight Memories.
If 1989 sells as forecasted, it will become the biggest-selling album released in 2014 after only one week on sale, have the largest sales week by any album since Red, and make Swift the only act to earn three million-selling weeks.
Swift’s album is obviously the biggest news this week, in terms of new releases, but there are other albums also heading for the top 10. They include the new Now 52 compilation (90,000), country singer Sam Hunt’s Montevallo (aiming for around 60,000 sold) and two Led Zeppelin reissues: Led Zeppelin IV (35,000) and Houses of the Holy (30,000).
Added new candids of Taylor at the Knicks Game in New York City on October 29, 2014. Check them out!