In April, as the pandemic brought the concert industry to a halt, Taylor Swift canceled all her tour dates for the year. “I’m so sad I won’t be able to see you guys in concert this year, but I know this is the right decision,” she wrote on Twitter, giving her fans no indication they would see her again, in any form, until 2021.
Three months later, she emerged from quarantine with “Folklore,” a classic surprise release that has dominated the Billboard album chart this summer. Now it is in its sixth week at No. 1, the longest streak at the top of the chart for any album since Drake’s “Views” four years ago.
In its sixth week out, “Folklore” had the equivalent of 90,000 album sales in the United States, including streams as well as copies sold as a complete package. After selling 17 physical versions of the album through her website for the first two weeks, Swift has lately been surprising fans by sending autographed copies of the CD to indie record stores.
In the United States, “Folklore” has sold 860,000 copies of its complete album version — counting downloads as well as its various physical versions — and nearly 700 million streams. Around the world, the album is “nearing” two billion streams, according to Swift’s label, Republic, a division of the giant Universal Music Group.
Also this week, Metallica opens at No. 4 with “S&M2,” a live album recorded with the San Francisco Symphony, and Katy Perry’s new album, “Smile,” starts at No. 5. Two posthumous rap albums hold their positions just below “Folklore”: Pop Smoke’s “Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon” is No. 2 and Juice WRLD’s “Legends Never Die” is No. 3.