Taylor Swift Closes Out Her Year At No. 1 Again – But She’s Not The King

The return to No. 1 on the Billboard 200 was almost ordained for Taylor Swift.

After a year that saw a mᴀssively successful stadium tour, a box office topping movie, and a culture dominance that saw her win the coveted Time “Person of the Year” award, it’s no surprise that her album 1989 (Taylor’s Version) has returned this week to No. 1 on the Billboard 200.

But while those successes are impressive, the breathless and cheerleading claims to have tied Elvis Presley for most weeks as a solo artist at No. 1 is an apples to bricks comparison.

While Elvis’s sales were measured by reports from retailers (an admittedly loose determination at times), today’s charts on the Billboard 200 consider sales from streaming, something that didn’t exist in Elvis’s heyday.

The Billboard 200 albums chart will count 1,250 streams through a paid subscription service to one album unit, and 3,750 streams through ad-supported streaming services to one album unit. That’s in addition to traditional sales, which are boosted by vinyl’s revival, but still lag far behind streams.

Comparing streams to the commitment needed to drive to a store to purchase an album is a matter up for debate. Does that cheapen the No. 1 status? Not compared to contemporaries, but maybe historically.

Of course, the Beatles had albums at No. 1 for 132 weeks on the album charts. But that’s not a “solo” artist. It is, though, a record unlikely to ever be broken.


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