/ Queen of Charts: Taylor Swift’s Tortured Poets Breaking Records in the Streaming Era

Taylor Swift’s latest album, “The Tortured Poets Department,” came out on April 19, 2024. Per usual, she’s breaking records—and we couldn’t let a major Taylor moment pass without a little analysis from us. 

Looking at the data, this album is rocketing Swift even higher—at least when it comes to the Billboard charts. Let’s take a look. 

First, the context around the “Tortured Poets” release

For months, Taylor Swift appeared to be dropping hints about releasing “Reputation (Taylor’s Version),” her re-recording of the 2018 album. Here’s an example: in February 2024, she changed her “Midnights”-era social media profile picture from full-color to black-and-white. She started dressing in darker hues—black, navy, dark green, deep browns— reminiscent of “Reputation” branding.  

Calling out these details may sound silly, especially if you—like me—aren’t deep in the Swiftie world. But Swift consistently hints at major releases through such tiny details. All these hints were red herrings, as TODAY reported. Instead, after months of speculation, Taylor Swift took to the stage at the 2024 Grammy’s to announce a new album, not “Reputation,” called “The Tortured Poets Department.”  

“Midnights” revisited—re-analyzing our own stats, two years later 

Back in 2022, when she released the “Midnights” album, we published a blog looking at the fact that she had all 10 of the Top 10 songs on Billboard Hot 100. We marveled at how she dominated the charts—and pulled the Grammy-winning album together while prepping to announce her Eras Tour.  

At the time, if we expanded to the Top 25, Taylor captured 15 and 13 songs over two weeks. (Shout out to the Domo Variables feature that makes it easy to switch this view to the Top 25 instead of the Top 10. You can change the view on your own view below, too.)  

Taylor’s probably broken hundreds of records, but Drake actually had her beat on this one. For one week in 2021 and another in 2023, Drake held 16 of the Top 25 songs.  

Well, move over, Drake. With her spring 2024 release, Taylor captured 19 of the Top 25. That’s right—19. Let’s dig into what’s happening here and why. 

The streaming era might explain what’s happening with Taylor’s data 

Interestingly (or maybe not surprisingly), this is probably related to streaming and releasing all songs at once. We kept digging into Swift’s record results, deciding to look at how new Swift releases performed as they entered the charts in prior years.  

We looked at the year a song first entered the charts (note: our Billboard data doesn’t have a specific album name or release date). Then we considered the number of songs in the Top 25 in the first week on the charts—then the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th weeks.  

The first chart shows the number of songs in the Top 25. The last two years, 2022 and 2023, were a big wow for her. You can see that 15 songs cracked the Top 25 in 2022 when “Midnights” came out. 17 made the list in 2023, the year she released her recordings of “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)” and “1989 (Taylor’s Version).” After that surge, the number goes down.   

Our second chart shows the specific ranking of each song. Hover over for the song name or hover over a year to see the specific rankings. You can also switch which artist you are looking at. Let’s hone in on Michael Jackson (you can change the filter above). You can see that he never got the most songs in that first week. His work took a bit to build.  

That’s the difference between streaming and old-fashioned record and CD sales—instead of instant hits, songs of the past took time to climb the charts. Artists of today release an album’s songs all at once and, in turn, get quick feedback from fans. Within hours, someone like Swift can see which songs have struck a chord (or a nerve) with listeners, which ones are getting less attention, and which deep cuts could become sleeper hits.  

We can see a similar trend by filtering for Madonna, the original queen of musical reinvention. Most of her songs took a few weeks to get traction on the charts.  

Putting Taylor Swift’s data into a custom, Speak Now-purple app

For a little fun, we decided to use Domo’s new App Studio for this final embed. It is almost like building your own app or website—not just a dashboard. We used App Studio’s customizable themes to set the mood, pulling the purple from Taylor’s dress on “Speak Now’s” album cover. We also have a second page with the data explorer we used in the blog post way back in 2022 (when App Studio was just an idea in some engineer’s head). 

So, where will the music industry go from here? What will the next phase of sharing music be? We can’t tell just yet—but we’d be willing to bet Taylor will remain front and center. 

We created a custom app using App Studio that’s all about Taylor and her music, below. Check it out, and visit our App Studio page to learn how this works.

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