'Folklore' Has Taylor Swift Fans Returning to Her Early Albums - Rolling Stone
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‘Folklore’ Is Sending People Back To Taylor Swift’s Early Albums

Taylor Swift’s latest release has seemingly inspired listeners to revisit her more country-leaning albums, all of which dropped before the streaming era

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 04: Seven-time Grammy winner Taylor Swift on the third night of the European leg of her blockbuster The RED Tour with the third of five sold-out shows at London's O2 Arena, playing to a capacity crowd of more than 15500 fans on February 4, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Gavan/TAS/Getty Images for TAS)

Seven-time Grammy winner Taylor Swift on the third night of the European leg of her blockbuster The RED Tour with the third of five sold-out shows at London's O2 Arena, playing to a capacity crowd of more than 15500 fans on February 4, 2014 in London, England.

Ian Gavan/TAS/Getty Images

In the week following the release of the singer/songwriter’s delight that is Folklore, Taylor Swift’s early catalog got some extra attention on streaming platforms, with albums like Fearless and Red seeing double-digit growth in streams.

Her 2008 album Fearless saw the biggest boost in streams, rising by 45 percent during the week of July 24th through 30th compared to the previous week. The second-biggest benefactor was 2010’s Speak Now, which jumped about 36 percent. Then came 2012’s Red (35 percent), 2014’s 1989 (27 percent), 2006’s Taylor Swift (21 percent), and 2017’s Reputation (19 percent). 2019’s Lover saw the least-significant increase — which makes sense when you consider that she’s never had a less than two-year gap between albums.

It’s important to remember that Swift’s music was not available on Spotify for nearly three years, from the release of 1989 until 2017. For Gen Zers who have grown up with streaming, Folklore may have encouraged a dive into her earlier music: Old Taylor can come to the phone now — in more ways that one.

Red and Speak Now were the biggest winners when it came down to pure album sales, increasing by 201 percent and and 166 percent, respectively. And on the RS 200 Chart — which combines digital and physical album sales, digital song sales, and audio streams — both Red and Fearless re-entered, at Number 101 and Number 154, respectively.

By contrast, no albums saw a lift in streams when Lover debuted last year. Unlike Folklore, however, Lover did have a traditional rollout that included pre-album singles. But even when you include the week leading up to the album’s release — when song “Lover” was made available — the lifts still weren’t as significant as those for Folklore. (Increases ranged between 10 to 18 percent in that instance.)

With Folklore, Swift continues to break ground, seeing the biggest debut on the RS 200 since Lover. Only time will tell what else she has up her now-lacy and sun-soaked sleeve.

In This Article: music industry, Taylor Swift

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