The singer’s surprise album was written and recorded during the pandemic lockdown. Since Folklore was released on 24 July, after being teased less than 17 hours before on her social media channels, it has received critical acclaim and is being praised as one of Swift's best albums to date.
In addition to being well-received by critics, Folklore has gone on to smash chart records and mark multiple career milestones for the pop star.
Within one day of the release, Swift sold 1.3 million copies of the new album, according to her label, Republic Records. As well as the major sales feat, the singer broke the record for the biggest first-day album streams for a female artist, with 80.6 million total streams.
Within just 24 hours, Folklore became the most-streamed pop album on Apple Music.
As of Monday, Swift became the first-ever artist to open at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and Billboard 200 in the same week. Folklore debuted at the top of the Billboard 200 chart while her single “cardigan” debuted at the top of the Hot 100. The track entered with 34 million US streams and 71,000 downloads sold in the week ending 30 July.
The song "cardigan" is Swift's second track to debut at No. 1 after "Shake It Off" in 2014. With it, she becomes only the eighth artist to have multiple No.1 Hot 100 entrances, joining Ariana Grande, Mariah Carey, Drake, Lady Gaga, Travis Scott and Britney Spears.
Additionally, her track “The 1” charted at No. 4, making Swift the first female artist – and third act overall – to have two songs appear in the top four spots on the Hot 100. The Bon Iver-featuring single “Exile” followed closely behind, opening at No. 6.
In the US the album sold 846,000 copies; the pop star has become the first artist in US chart history to have seven albums sell more than 500,000 copies in a single week. She is now also the first female artist to have seven albums debut at number one.
Folklore became the best-selling record of the year after just one week on sale.