So much for the industry’s projection that Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off” would only sell 425-450,000 copies in its first week.
The lead “1989” single ended up besting that forecast by roughly 100,000 copies. It debuts atop Billboard’s Digital Songs chart with a whopping first-week total of 544,000.
While that total trails the 623,000 opening week count for her preceding lead single “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” it easily represents the highest mark for an opening week in 2014. Ariana Grande’s “Problem (featuring Iggy Azalea),” the previous leader, sold 438,000 when it launched this spring.
Not since Katy Perry’s “Roar” moved 557,000 first week copies last summer has a track gotten off to a start this hot.
Per Billboard, the “Shake it Off” count ranks as the fourth-best opening week ever. Only Flo Rida’s “Right Round” (636,000 in 2009) and the aforementioned “We Are Never” and “Roar” earned more paid downloads in their inaugural weeks.
By getting off to a slower than expected start, “Shake it Off” prompted publications like Hits Daily Double and Billboard to quickly reduce their first week projections to 425-450,000.
But as the week unfolded, “Shake” was adhering to a far steadier trajectory than is typical for high-profile releases, which tend to rapidly cool after their opening two days. Led by Headline Planet, publications began raising their forecasts.
None, however, anticipated it would end up at a total this high. While the decline from “We Are Never” cannot be ignored, the magnitude of a 544,000 first week sales count cannot be denied.