When Taylor Swift launched her re-recording project in 2021 — embarking on a six-album endeavor of redoing her first six studio albums, following the acquisition of those albums’ master recordings by Scooter Braun’s Ithaca Holdings in 2019 — she did so with a bang. Fearless (Taylor’s Version), the re-recording of her 2008 sophomore album, was released in April 2021 and scored the biggest debut week for any 2021 album at that time with 291,000 equivalent album units, according to Luminate.
Yet as significant of a commercial achievement as Fearless (Taylor’s Version) represented for Swift, Red (Taylor’s Version), her second re-recorded album released last November, proved to be much, much bigger. This was evident upon its release — when it debuted at No. 1 with 605,000 equivalent album units, and the 10-minute version of “All Too Well” shot to the top of the Hot 100 chart — and is even more clear as it turns one year old on Saturday (Nov. 12).
When Red (Taylor’s Version) was released last year, we compared the commercial performance of Swift’s re-recorded Red with the 2012 original on a week-to-week basis, to see how both projects performed on different platforms. One year after its release, we can use a much greater sample size to see how listeners interacted with Red and Red (Taylor’s Version) across streaming, radio and sales platforms.
From its release day of Nov. 12, 2021, through the most recent tracking week (ending Nov. 3), Red (Taylor’s Version) has earned 1.94 million equivalent album units, according to Luminate, while the original Red has earned 220,000 equivalent album units over that same time period. The units total for Red (Taylor’s Version) over the past year not only dwarfs the total of the original Red, but nearly doubles the comparative performance of Fearless (Taylor’s Version), which earned 1 million equivalent album units in its first year of release.
Digging deeper into the numbers, Red (Taylor’s Version) earned 1.5 billion official U.S. on-demand streams over the past year, compared to 280.6 million streams of Red. Meanwhile, the re-recorded Red scored 784,000 in album sales over that time period, while the original Red sold 17,000 copies.
Red (Taylor’s Version) also dominated Red in terms of radio play over the past year, with 211,000 U.S. radio plays of its songs compared to 38,000 plays for the original Red songs. That disparity is the most notable difference between the performance of Fearless (Taylor’s Version) and Red (Taylor’s Version), compared to Swift’s original albums. After the release of Fearless (Taylor’s Version) in April 2021, radio stations still gravitated toward the original versions of hits like “Love Story” and “You Belong With Me” — but last November, upon the release of Red (Taylor’s Version), leading U.S. radio station owner iHeartRadio pledged to play Swift’s re-recorded songs moving forward. Consequently, Red hits like “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” and “I Knew You Were Trouble” were played on iHeartRadio stations in their re-recorded forms, and the radio totals of Red (Taylor’s Version) songs kept rising.
That included Swift’s 2021 editions of “All Too Well,” which were released in both five-minute and 10-minute versions on Red (Taylor’s Version), with the latter becoming the longest single to go to No. 1 in Hot 100 history when it debuted in the top spot last November. The re-recorded “All Too Well” versions earned 313.6 million U.S. on-demand streams over the past year, compared to 26.3 million streams for the original, and earned 84,000 in single sales, while the 2012 “All Too Well” earned 8,000. And although a 10-minute song might be difficult to fit into a top 40 radio block, the re-recorded “All Too Well” did score 14,000 U.S. radio plays, compared to a negligible number for the original.
As previously noted when comparing the commercial performance of Red (Taylor’s Version) and the 2012 original, the re-recorded album benefited from fan support of Swift’s six-album endeavor and more prominent placement across music platforms. The newly released “From The Vault” songs — which included the 10-minute “All Too Well” as well as collaborations with Ed Sheeran, Phoebe Bridgers and Chris Stapleton — also contributed to consumption totals.
“Message in a Bottle,” the delightful pop track which was another “From The Vault” song, proceeded to win over top 40 radio after Red (Taylor’s Version) arrived. “Bottle” scored 135,000 U.S. radio plays over the past year while reaching No. 17 on the Pop Airplay chart; the song also earned 84 million on-demand streams and 19,000 song sales. Although “I Bet You Think About Me,” another “From The Vault” track that featured Stapleton, didn’t perform as well on radio — reaching No. 23 on Country Airplay — it did peak higher on the Hot 100 than “Message in the Bottle,” reaching No. 22 on the chart compared to No. 45 for “Bottle.”
Speaking of which, Red (Taylor’s Version) unsurprisingly peaked higher on the Billboard 200 over the past year than the original Red, debuting at No. 1 on the albums tally upon its release last year and spending 35 total weeks in the top 40 of the chart since then. The original Red did climb back to No. 21 on the Billboard 200 on the chart dated Nov. 20, 2021 – one week before the chart debut of Red (Taylor’s Version), presumably buoyed by fans hyped up for the re-recording.
Two re-records down and four more to go for Swift, who has yet to announce her next Taylor’s Version album one year after Red and has fans guessing which project might follow. In the meantime, her brand-new Midnights, which scored the biggest debut week for an album in 7 years, spends another week atop the Billboard 200 this week, and Swift’s 2023 Eras Tour just added another round of stadium dates this morning.
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