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NEAR TRUTHS: INCOMPARABLE

THE TAYLOR HALO EFFECT: Taylor Swift's latest album, THE TORTURED POETS DEPARTMENT, which bowed wtih 2.6m+, has now passed the 3m mark in U.S. ATD and will hold onto the #1 spot on this week's chart. Adele still holds the first-week record with 3.4m, a feat the British star achieved with 11 songs and no tinted vinyl. That would be for 2015's 25, but we digress.

Taylor world is an ecosystem, and it’s well known that she can singlehandedly anoint artists, including several who have joined her on tour. Lana Del Rey (repped by Carole Kinzel at CAA), Ice Spice (CLG/Cara Lewis) and Sabrina Carpenter (Mario Tirado, Jeff Frasco and Marlene Tsuchii at CAA) have been among the acts boosted by their proximity to Tay; her imprimatur continues to influence her fans’ enormous appetites well beyond what even other superstars are capable of. Indeed, the closest handy analogy is the impact of someone like Oprah. Which has wonderers wondering how the Taylor brand might extend itself. Tay’s Book Club, anyone?

Speaking of Carpenter, her “Espresso” hit #1 global and U.S. at Spotify recently while Chappell Roan’s “Good Luck, Babe!” is Top 20 U.S. Label heads Imran Majid and Justin Eshak are definitely experiencing some heat. Carpenter is poised for stardom, and a big look on the near horizon may help with that. Roan (who’s repped for live by Wasserman’s Kiely Mosiman and Jackie Nalpant) is making major inroads.

TORTURED COMPARISONS: How do you compare Taylor to the rest of the pop universe—even other megastars? With the biggest tour of all time, the multiplex takeover and her conquest of the NFL via Travis Kelce, Taylor is the ne plus ultra of pop-cultural deities.

Tay’s 2.61m first-week number for the 31-track TORTURED POETS DEPARTMENT—which is the size of about three traditional albums—breaks down thusly, more or less: 700k in streaming equivalents (with Spotify streams more than double those at Apple); 1m from traditional retail (Amazon, Walmart and her longtime special partner, Target); and roughly another 1m from D2C, with four different tinted-vinyl options for collectors (who could, if they desired, buy four copies of each, or 16 copies total, all to be counted in the weekly total).

Taylor’s catalog represents 220m+ copies worldwide, with 37m for all-time champ 1989 (plus 8m for Taylor’s Version), 30m for the original Fearless (7m for TV), a pretty even split on versions of Red totaling almost 30m and 17m+ for Midnights.

Morgan Wallen has been enjoying giant activity even since the drop of his 36-track giant, One Thing at a Time. Adele, Harry Styles, Billie Eilish and Olivia Rodrigo tend to make albums with 10-14 tracks and rarely issue deluxe versions; of this group, only O-Rod released a deluxe, and it was significantly after her first week, so there was no chart-debut hanky-panky. It’s difficult for a set of this size to rack up the kinds of numbers Taylor is commanding with her anthologies and Taylor’s Versions.

John Branca, who is being played by Miles Teller in the forthcoming Michael Jackson biopic, Michael, claims MJ’s Thriller has hit 100m in worldwide sales and that Bad is over 40 million. Jackson’s sales were always internationally heavy—about 70% ex-U.S., which was unusual at a time when U.S. sales were globally dominant.

Michael, like The Beatles, never toured as extensively as Taylor has been doing. But both did big grosses in their heydays, with much cheaper tickets. Taylor’s monumental Louis Messina/AEG-promoted Eras Tour will have moved 9m tix and grossed a record-setting $1.6b by its conclusion.

TAGS: I.B. Bad
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