Taylor Swift has set so many high-water marks it's hard to think of many new career mountains left for her to summit.
But the country pop superstar could top her own sales peaks (and maybe those of Justin Bieber), when her latest lacerating kiss-off single, "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together," hits the charts next week.
According to Billboard, the first single from Swift's upcoming fourth studio album, Red (October 22), is rocketing toward the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart as a number of radio formats are scrambling to find enough spot to spin the tune, helpless in the face of the song's instant allure. Since it was serviced to radio late on Monday, Billboard reported that the acidic ode to one of Swift's former paramours, written with hit makers Max Martin and Johan Shellback, has racked up a radio audience of nearly 30 million and is already among the 40 most-played songs of the last seven days across all formats.
The biggest news is that since its commercial release on iTunes and Google Play on Monday and other services on Tuesday, "Never" is on track to sell between 450,000 and 500,000 downloads by the end of the Nielsen SoundScan reporting period on Sunday (August 19). If those figures hold, it could not only mark the biggest sales debut for a digital song by a woman in history, it would also be Swift's biggest sales week. If it passes 448,000, it will break the record for a digital song debut for a female artist held by Lady Gaga's "Born This Way." Swift's previous high-water mark was the 360,000 "Love Story" sold during Christmas week in 2008.
The larger question is where the song — which has been serviced in both country and pop versions — will land on the Billboard Hot 100 chart next week. The magazine noted that Justin Bieber's "Boyfriend" debuted on the chart at #2 thanks to 521,000 in first-week sales and 49 million in opening-week radio audience. While "Never" is tracking a bit below those figures, its audience total could surpass Bieber and the song is almost certain to land in the top five on the Hot 100.