Just as both professional pundits and hardcore fans predicted, Taylor Swift's third album Speak Now has sold over one million copies in its first week of release. All told, Swift moved 1,047,000 units this past week, easily earning her the top spot on the Billboard albums chart and giving her the best single-week sales since 50 Cent sold 1,141,000 copies of The Massacre in 2005 (she just bested the sales of Lil Wayne's Tha Carter III, the last album to cross the seven figure threshold in a week). She is also only the third woman to sell a million in her first week (joining Britney Spears and, curiously, Norah Jones) and is also only the second country artist to pull off the feat (Garth Brooks did it with Double Live in 1998).
Pulling off this incredible feat puts Swift in a very elite class of performers who have sold one million copies in the first week of an album's release. Some of the biggest pop stars in the world — including Beyoncé, Madonna and Mariah Carey — have fallen short of this particular belt notch. In fact, the seven-figures-in-the-first-week trick has only been pulled off a dozen times before. Here are the rest of them.
Lil Wayne, Tha Carter III
Fueled by dozens of top-shelf mixtape tracks, a healthy endorsement from Kanye West (who himself had just missed the million-in-a-week mark with Graduation) and some chatter that he had taken the "Best Rapper Alive" moniker from Jay-Z, Lil Wayne's Tha Carter III turned into a cross-cultural event.
50 Cent, The Massacre
50 Cent scored a massive hit with his debut album Get Rich or Die Tryin' (and the smash single "In Da Club"), so he quickly hit the market a second time with The Massacre. On the back of "Candy Shop," 50 fever was in full effect when he pushed his seven day million.
*NSYNC, No Strings Attached and Celebrity
At the height of boy band mania (and in the era just before downloading torpedoed album sales), every pop star was looking to win big during week one. Nobody ever won bigger than *NSYNC, who sold 2.4 million copies of No Strings Attached in a single week (the thing went platinum in a day) and came back to shift another 1.7 million copies of Celebrity when it dropped a year later. A lot of elements of the turn-of-the-millennium pop era didn't last, but *NSYNC's record will remain indestructible.
Backstreet Boys, Millennium and Black & Blue
Backstreet always seemed slightly more ubiquitous (and prolific) than *NSYNC but could never quite top their massive selling power. They still put up huge numbers though, and the sales of Black & Blue are especially impressive because they made the Backstreet Boys the first group to ever sell an opening week million on two consecutive releases.
Britney Spears, Oops ... I Did It Again!
Even though Britney was the queen of pop music, she only topped the million mark once, shifting seven figures worth of her hugely anticipated second album.
Eminem, The Marshall Mathers LP and The Eminem Show
Since he was the biggest-selling artist of the past decade, it's only fitting that Slim Shady is on this list twice, each time for massive albums released at the height of his power.
Limp Bizkit, Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water
Along with the pop groups and Eminem, nobody was on "TRL" more than Limp Bizkit, which helped their strangely-titled third album shift a million copies in its first week in the fall of 2000.
Norah Jones, Feels Like Home
Because soccer moms can buy albums by the bucketload too.
As gigantic an R&B album as there ever was, the success of Confessions is especially impressive considering how rampant downloading already was when it was released in 2004.