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Taylor Swift's 'Speak Now': Headed for 1 million first-week sales?

October 26, 2010 |  4:03 pm

Taylor Swift live Club Nokia Schaben 
Taylor Swift’s “Speak Now” album, which was released Monday, is shaping up to have possibly the biggest first-week sales of any album this year, according to Billboard. The 20-year-old singer-songwriter’s third album is expected to log sales of at least 800,000 to 900,000 copies by Sunday, Billboard reports.  That would put it ahead of the year’s current first-week sales champ, Eminem’s “Recovery,” which posted initial sales of 741,000 in June.

The trade publication gives it a shot at topping 1 million copies in its first week, which would make it the first album to hit that mark since Lil Wayne’s “Tha Carter III” sold 1,006,000 copies in 2008 during its first week.

Swift’s collection appears to be doing better than retailers expected. A month ago, Billboard cited industry projections of 750,000 copies for "Speak Now" in the first week. It also is generating largely favorable reviews, scoring an 81, out of a possible 100, at the Metacritic aggregrate review site.

The enthusiastic response to the album runs counter to the downward trend of overall record sales, which in the latest reporting period were 14% lower than in the same period last year, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Just two weeks ago, Toby Keith’s “Bullets in the Gun” set a new record for the lowest sales figure for a No. 1 album debut –- 71,000 copies -- since SoundScan began monitoring retail sales in 1991.

Swift also would counter the trend of artists who have been unable to match or top their previous sales figures. Her 2008 sophomore album, “Fearless,” debuted at No. 1 after selling 592,000 copies in its first week of release.

Swift is in the midst of a blitz of media appearances this week in conjunction with the release of “Speak Now”; next year, she plans to embark on an international tour.

-- Randy Lewis

Photo of Taylor Swift performing at Club Nokia in Los Angeles. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times