We all knew that Taylor Swift was going to sell a boatload of albums in the first week of Red‘s release; what we didn’t know was exactly how high Swift would set the bar. Now, with Nielsen Soundscan releasing the official numbers, we finally have our answer: El Sastre Rapido sold a walloping 1.2 million copies of her country-pop opus, with a record 465,000 of those coming from iTunes. This is Swift’s second million-seller debut in as many albums; Speak Now stormed out of the gate just above the mark back in 2010.
To put those numbers in perspective, a few weeks ago we went crazy trying to figure out how in the hell Mumford and Sons sold as many copies of Babel as they did—and those earnest banjo-pluckers only managed 600,000 sales, half as much as Swift did. These numbers are just unprecedented for our current music landscape: No other album has sold more in its first week since Eminem’s The Eminem Show a decade ago .
The sales were helped along by a massive promotional blitz that found Swift’s image in Starbucks, on Papa John’s pizzas and in Target ads. (If you watched Hulu in the past two weeks you may be excused for feeling like you saw more of Taylor than the characters in the shows you were ostensibly watching.) And unlike Lady Gaga, who juiced sales of Born This Way with a 99-cents Amazon offer upon its initial release, all of these promotional deals still sold Red at full price (or in the case of Papa John’s, alongside a large one-topping pizza for only $22).