What do Lil Wayne, the Backstreet Boys, and Garth Brooks have in common? They’ve all released albums that sold over one million copies domestically in their respective first weeks on shelves. If industry projections are accurate, Taylor Swift is about to join that elite group thanks to Speak Now‘s spectacular debut week.
The instant-million club is a strange place. The very first member was Garth Brooks, whose Live Garth set sold 1.08 million copies when it debuted back in 1998. At the time, no album had ever sold that many copies in its first sales frame. (The soundtrack for The Bodyguard had previously sold 1.06 million during one week in 1993, a few months after its release.) Swift’s victory this week brings things full circle in a couple of ways, then — not only is she the first country artist since Brooks to join the club, but she’s joining at a time when moving a million is similarly unheard of. In 1998 and 2010 alike, this is a rare accomplishment worth noting.
Things were different for a brief, wild period around the turn of the century. Brooks ushered in an era where pop stars routinely broke the million mark. It started in May 1999, when the Backstreet Boys‘ Millenium sold 1.13 million in a week, but the following year was the really crazy one. In March 2000, *NSYNC shattered the previous record with an astounding 2.42 million-copy opening week for No Strings Attached. (*NSYNC’s record still holds today, by the way.) Britney Spears joined the club that May by selling 1.32 million copies of Oops!…I Did It Again. Eminem followed suit in June with 1.76 million copies of The Marshall Mathers LP, the first rap album in this category. Limp Bizkit became the club’s first (and last) hard-rock members that October, selling just over 1 million copies of Chocolate Starfish & the Hot Dog Flavored Water. In November, BSB lapped everyone else, scoring a second instant-million badge for Black & Blue (1.6 million). Finally, the Beatles rounded out the busy year by selling 1.26 million copies of their compilation 1 during Christmas week (again, somewhat after the week of release). READ FULL STORY »