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POP ELITE BY THE NUMBERS: COMPARE AND CONTRAST

With so much focus on Taylor Swift's Lover—specifically just how big her seventh LP's first-week numbers will be—let's examine how pop contemporaries Ariana GrandeBillie Eilish and Ed Sheeran performed leading up to their album drop, and how they compare to Tay's lead-in tracks. 


Ariana Grande: Surprising just about everyone, Grande released "thank u, next" just three months after Sweetener was released. Adding to that hit, Swift's labelmate dropped "7 rings," a record-breaking streaming giant that sent her new project into overdrive. From 11/8/18 up until release day (2/8/19), here are the numbers from Grande's three pre-album tracks:

Sales: 628k     Streams: 529m    Activity to date: 2m

Billie Eilish: Two and a half years of development culminated into a breakthrough debut album for the teen phenom with her Darkroom/Interscope set, WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO? Led by early singles "bury and friend" and "when the party's over," from 1/10/19 to album drop (3/28/19), Eilish's activity from four pre-album tracks follow:

Sales: 147k     Streams: 219m     ATD: 1.8m

Ed Sheeran: The U.K. giant kicked off his No.6 Collaborations Project with fellow massive global star Justin Bieber on "I Don't Care." The lead single arrived about two months ahead of the full album, followed by collabs with Chance The Rapper & PNB Rock and new-school superstar Khalid. Collectively, the three all-star collabs earned the following in total activity from 5/15/19 to 7/11/19:

Sales: 362K     Streams: 227m     ATD: 614k

Taylor Swift: Leading off for Lover was Swift's "ME!" featuring Brendon Urie of Panic! At The Disco. Tay pulled out all the stops for that video and second single, "You Need To Calm Down." The LGBTQ anthem was packed with cameos of celebrities and LGBTQ icons. Those two singles along with album track "The Archer," give Swift the following tally before album drop:

Sales: 600K     Streams: 262m

 
Follow the links below for clues about how Lover might fare in its first week and the myriad facets of Taylor's strategic rollout.

JESUS IS COMING—REALLY (UPDATE)
Your skepticism is understandable, given recent history. (10/22a)
NEIL'S ROCKY MOUNTAIN TRIP
New's cranky and crankin'. (10/22a)
THE DEATH OF PRINT JOURNALISM: TOWERING INFERNO EDITION
Made with 100% paper. (10/22a)
ALL ABOUT
THE BENJAMIN
Hot derby in 3, 2, 1... (10/22a)
BMI BIG ON BLIGHTY
Rhian returns from holiday, attends an event, files a story. (10/22a)
BEHIND THE SCENES WITH KANYE
And lo, there was much earned media.
MOE, MARSHMELLO AND MONEY
The story of a "faceless" brand that got very, very big.
THE NEW WORLD OF A&R
The trap they all fell into.
GRAMMY NOMS
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