How Taylor Swift used nostalgia to make “Midnights” her greatest album hit to date

Taylor Swift’s tenth album, “Midnights,” may have disappointed fans of indie-folk music who enjoyed her earlier albums, but it broke several sales and streaming records during its first week of release, including taking all ten of the top spots on the Billboard Hot 100. It also broke the record for the biggest overall week for any album, measured in equivalent album units, in just four days.

“The outcomes are self-evident. George Howard, a professor of music business at Berklee College of Music, said that she is as well-liked as ever. She stirs up this type of craze among a sizable number of supporters.

Swift’s “Reputation,” which sold 1.216 million copies, set a record for the most U.S. sales week for a conventional album five years ago. This record was surpassed in only four days by “Midnights.”

It’s not as if Swift’s earlier albums weren’t popular. Instead, as the streaming sector has increased its market share among music listeners, her number of streams has steadily increased over time. In the autumn of last year, “Red (Taylor’s Version)” broke Spotify’s record for the most-streamed album by a female artist in a single day with 90.8 million plays on the day of release. Swift’s “Folklore,” which has 78.7 million streams before, held the previous record. Swift once again surpassed her own record with “Midnights,” which had 185 million streaming on its first day.

Why is “Midnights” the pop star’s greatest hit to date, and why did it take Swift four more albums to surpass her previous record?

When Taylor Swift announced that her brand-new album “Midnights” will be released on October 21 during her acceptance speech for the Video of the Year award for “All Too Well (10 minute version) (Taylor’s version) (from The Vault)” at the VMAs in August, the world was taken aback. Since Swift’s last two albums, “Red (Taylor’s Version)” in November 2021 and “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” in April 2021, were both re-recordings, fans anticipated that her next release would also be a re-recording of one of her earlier albums. There was a lot of early hype about “Midnights” since she violated this release pattern and revealed a new album during an awards presentation, something she had never done before.

But by embracing the past and some of her own prior best practices in other areas, Swift established a new benchmark.

 

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