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Taylor Swift just made Billboard history, again

Taylor Swift performs "The Man" during her Eras tour show in Arlington, Texas, in March. She just became the first woman to have four Top 10 charting albums at once.
Suzanne Cordeiro
/
AFP via Getty Images
Taylor Swift performs "The Man" during her Eras tour show in Arlington, Texas, in March. She just became the first woman to have four Top 10 charting albums at once.

Drop everything now: Taylor Swift has just made history as the first woman — and third artist ever — to have four of the Top 10 albums in the Billboard 200 chart at the same time.

Swift is rerecording her first six albums in order to regain artistic and financial control of her work and released the third of those, Speak Now (Taylor's Version), earlier this month.

It debuted in the top spot, marking Swift's 12th No. 1 album and pushing her past Barbra Streisand for the most chart-toppers by a female artist.

Speak Now (Taylor's Version) — which also features six previously unreleased songs — launched with the year's biggest week for any album, according to Billboard, which looks at album sales and streaming metrics, among others.

It joins three of Swift's other albums — 2022's Midnights, 2020's Folklore and 2019's Lover — in the Top 10. They are fifth, 10th and seventh, respectively.

Vulture points to a number of factors, including Swift's ongoing Eras Tour, the release of the Lover song "Cruel Summer" as a single four years later and Swift's prominent place in the soundtrack of the new second season of the Amazon series The Summer I Turned Pretty. Whatever the reason, Swift has earned another page in the history books.

"She is the first living act to have four albums in the top 10 at the same time since the April 2, 1966-dated chart, when Herb Alpert also had four albums in the top 10," Billboard says, referring to the American trumpeter.

Prince is the only other artist to achieve this distinction, though he did so posthumously.

Five of his albums landed back in the Top 10 — The Very Best of Prince, the Purple Rain soundtrack, The Hits/The B-Sides, Ultimate and 1999 — in mid-May 2016, three weeks after his death.

This isn't Swift's first Billboard record of note. She became the first artist to sweep the entire Top 10 on Billboard's Hot 100 in October 2022, days after the release of Midnights.

Swift hasn't commented publicly on this latest pair of milestones, though she has posted on social media about the significance of Speak Now (Taylor's Version), which she wrote between the ages of 18 and 20 and rerecorded at 32.

Swift, who is wrapping up the U.S. leg of her Eras Tour, celebrated the album's release at her Kansas City concert earlier this month by premiering a music video for one of the new tracks, "I Can See You" and adding another song, "Long Live," to the setlist.

She later tweeted that "singing those words in a stadium full of people who helped me get my music back" was "unfathomably special to me."

Her music is also giving local economies a boost

The Eras Tour, Swift's first since 2018, has also made a sizable impact on the economy, as economist and self-described "Swiftie" Mara Klaunig told NPR.

She says fellow fans traveling to cities are spending money not just on tickets, hotels and merchandise, but also on things like custom outfits, manicures, hairstyles, friendship bracelets and even Swift-themed drinks and exercise classes.

"The economic impact will be major in terms of the sales and the tax revenues that result from that," Klaunig says. "We're hearing that some businesses have made half their year's profit in that one weekend. That's obviously going to be a huge boost to that business."

One example: In a report released last week, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia credited the influx of Swifties with bringing in the strongest month for hotel revenue since the start of the pandemic.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Rachel Treisman (she/her) is a writer and editor for the Morning Edition live blog, which she helped launch in early 2021.