“Look What You Made Me Do” sold close to 200,000 copies in a day.
Did you guys know Taylor Swift has a new single out?
Right. Me too.
Here’s another one: Did you know people are paying money to download the new Taylor Swift single? Even though it is widely available, legally, for free?
A lot of people: Around 200,000 people in the U.S. on Friday, the first day that “Look What You Made Me Do” was out, following a Thursday night release. Billboard thinks she’ll end up selling around 500,000 copies within the first week.
Context: That would make it the most-sold song since Adele’s “Hello”, which sold an astonishing 1.1 million copies in its first week, in November 2015, and another 653,000 in the second week.
More context: Two singles from Swift’s “1989” album — “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” and “Shake It Off” — sold 623,000 downloads, and 544,000 downloads, in the first week they came out, back in 2014.
The really important context: Music downloads, as a category, have been declining for years, replaced by subscription streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music, as well as the free streams you can get from YouTube (much to the music industry’s chagrin).
And while Swift has sparred with streaming music services in the past, that’s over now, and all of her stuff is available everywhere.
And people are streaming lots of Taylor Swift, in case you were wondering: YouTube says the “lyric video” — that is, a video without the video part, just the lyrics — racked up 19 million streams in the first day it was out. And YouTube says that’s a record, too. It’s up to 29 million now: