Taylor Swift’s ‘The Tortured Poets Department’ Sold 5x More Copies Than the New Grateful Dead Album By Jason Brow May 9, 2024

The Grateful Dead’s long, strange trip back to the charts came to a dead stop at No. 2, thanks to Taylor Swift.

Though the Grateful Dead hasn’t been a band since the death of Jerry Garcia in 1995, the group has enjoyed a commercially successful career by releasing albums of live recordings from their heyday. One such album is Dave’s Picks Vol. 50: Palladium, New York City, NY 5/3/77, which debuted on four Billboard charts this week, including the Top Album Sales chart. This chart counts only the best-selling albums, whereas the Billboard 200 includes streaming activity.

Dave’s Picks Vol. 50 wasn’t made available to stream or consume in any other manner but actual sales, according to Forbes. So, the 20,390 copies sold are all pure purchases: no “album equivalent” numbers whatsoever.

Those 20k units sold would have ensured the Grateful Dead’s No. 1 spot on the Top Album Sales chart had Swift’s The Tortured Poets Department not outsold them more than five times over. TTPD sold another 106,982 copies, ensuring her position at the top of the Top Album Sales chart for at least another week.

Dave’s Picks Vol. 50 debuted at No. 32 on the Billboard 200, at No. 7 on the Top Rock & Alternative Albums chart, and at No. 6 on the Top Rock Albums chart.

Swift, 34, released TTPD on April 19 and the album immediately shattered sales and pre-save records. It sold 1.5 million copies in its first week, with 700,000 sales from vinyl alone. TTPD earned the title of best single week vinyl sales since Luminate began tracking the data in 1991. The album also earned more than 300 streams on its first day on Spotify. And, TTPD became the fastest album to earn 1 billion streams, which it did in a single week.

The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with 2.61 million sales (with 1.914 million album sales.) Swift reacted to the success with gratitude, posting on social media about how her “mind [was] blown.”

“I’m completely floored by the love you’ve shown this album. 2.6 million ARE YOU ACTUALLY SERIOUS?? Thank you for listening, streaming, and welcoming Tortured Poets into your life. Feeling completely overwhelmed,” she wrote on Instagram on April 28. “I was already so fired up to get back to the tour but you doing THIS??”

Swift begins the European leg of the Eras Tour on Thursday, May 9, with a four-night run at the Paris La Défense Arena. Ahead of Swift’s first show, the French tour promoter confirmed that it’ll be a “slightly modified show” to accommodate “new pieces from her new album.”

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