Taylor Swift’s ‘Long Pond Sessions’ Debuts at No. 3, Making Her the First Artist With Three Albums in Top 10 Since 2016
Thanks to a towering debut by “Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions,” Taylor Swift now has three albums in the top 10 of the Billboard 200, as the vinyl-only Record Store Day exclusive sold through all 75,000 of the available copies to land at No. 3 for the week. The double-LP release joins two other albums Swift already had in the top 10 as of last week: “Midnights,” at No. 4, and “Folklore,” at No. 10.
Swift becomes the first artist to pull off that feat since 2016, when three of Prince’s landed in the top 10 following his death, according to Billboard. It’s also a rare feat for a female artist; Whitney Houston became the first woman to score three albums in the top 10 in 2012.
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One thing is for certain: Swift won’t be scoring a three-peat on next week’s Billboard charts. “Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions” was only released in the U.S. in a limited quantity of 75,000 for Record Store Day on April 22… and 75,000 is the sales count that Luminate reported. That means no more copies to go around for “Long Pond Sessions” to chart at all in a second week on the chart, give or take a few stray copies that might’ve accidentally been left in a stockroom or otherwise held back by retail.
The global pressing for the album was 115,000, leaving 40,000 copies to be sold outside of the U.S.
In an unusual case, the music for “Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions” was released digitally in late 2020, yet the album never charted as a separate title until this week. That’s because the tracks were counted as part of a deluxe edition for the original “Folklore” album in the digital realm, as they presumably will continue to be after this week. The LP exclusive for “Long Pond Studio Sessions” marked the first time that material had its own code to be tracked as a separate release.
The double-LP release became Swift’s 14th album to chart in the top 10… and will soon set a record for being the only Swift album ever to spend just one week there.
The release of “Long Pond” as an LP exclusive created some panic among Swift fans, with some brick-and-mortar stores selling out of their stock as soon as doors opened on Record Store Day, while others that had ordered or been able to obtain hundreds of copies were able to keep the title on shelves into the afternoon. Per the rules of participating Record Store Day outlets, the album was not allowed to be sold via the web until the following day, at which point very few had the title left in stock.
With 75,000 available in the U.S., there was slightly less hysteria about getting the album than there was for a similar Swift item the previous Record Store Day in April 2022, when she released a 7-inch single with two versions of the song “The Lakes,” one of which was only available otherwise in digital form. The single was only pressed in an edition of 7,000 copies, so limited that many stores held raffles for the opportunity to purchase the handful that came into stock.
In the hours and days immediately after the RSD title sold out, prices skyrocketed well into the triple digits on resale sites where it was being marked up from its approximately $50 price point. In more recent days, prices have calmed down; although most offers on eBay are still in the $100-150 range, the album has been registering some auction selling prices in the $90-100 range as well.
“The Long Pond Sessions” is unofficially a soundtrack for the Disney+ special of the same name that debuted in 2020, and the LP edition was stickered with the streaming platform’s logo. The special had Swift meeting up with co-writer/co-producers Aaron Dessner and Jack Antonoff in a recording studio to do stripped-down versions of the same songs that appeared on “Folklore,” which had been recorded and released in the first months of the pandemic, with Swift and her collaborators working remotely at that time.
The other stats for Swift albums in the top 10 this week had “Midnights” at No. 4 (the same position it held last week) with 62,000 album-equivalent units, which includes a formulation for streaming as a part of that number, and not just the pure sales that “Long Pond” relied upon to reach 75,000. The same goes for “Folklore,” which had 36,000 units to land at No. 10 (slipping one notch, despite an uptick in units).
The only releases surpassing “Long Pond Studio Sessions” for the week are Morgan Wallen’s “One Thing at a Time,” registering its eighth straight week on top with 149,000 units, most of those attributable to streaming, and BTS member Suga’s debut under the nom de plume of Agust D, which debuted at No. 2 with 140,000 units.
Suga had the top actual album sales for the week, with 122,000 copies sold. But with those sales coming in CD or digital form, Swift had no problem claiming the title of top vinyl seller of the week (and the best LP sales for any album in 2023 so far) with her 75,000 copies.
Results for other RSD 2023 titles have not yet been reported, but none were released in the U.S. in a greater quantity than the 15,500 pressed for Pearl Jam’s “Give Way” live album. Most Record Store Day exclusive releases have pressings of under 10,000.
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