Taylor thanks fans for swiftly smashing record

Singer's new album 'Speak Now' cracks the million-unit mark in its first week out

Taylor Swift's third album cracked the million-unit mark during its first week of sale in the United States, the biggest opening tally in more than five year, according to data issued on Tuesday.

The country-pop star sold 1,047,000 copies of "Speak Now" during the week ended October 31. It's the largest sales week for an album since rapper 50 Cent's "The Massacre" bowed at No 1 with 1,141,000 in March 2005. 

Swift went online to thank her fans. "I... Can't... Believe... This... You guys have absolutely lit up my world. Thank you," Swift said in Twitter message.

Since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking music sales in 1991, there have only been 16 instances where an album sold at least a million copies in a week. The last artist to achieve this feat was rapper Lil Wayne's, who sold 1,006,000 copies of "Tha Carter III" in June 2008. The record of 2,416,000 units is held by 'N Sync's 2000 release "No Strings Attached."

A day after its October 25 release, industry pundits were projecting that "Speak Now" would sell between 800,000 and 900,000 copies by the end of SoundScan's tracking week. Those predictions got even sunnier over the weekend, and by Monday, it seemed a sure bet that the 1 million mark would be met.

Swift's previous album, "Fearless," debuted at No. 1 in November 2008 with 592,000 copies. It spent 11 non-consecutive weeks at the summit.

In "Speak Now", she delivers a forthright commentary on several men who have broken or messed with her heart.

The album includes songs widely believed to refer to singer John Mayer, pop star Joe Jonas, rapper Kanye West, "Twilight" actor Taylor Lautner, and music industry critics who slammed her shaky vocal performance at the 2010 Grammy Awards.

Nashville music industry writer David Ross, editor of MusicRow, said Swift's success flies in the face of conventional wisdom about the dire state of the recording industry.

"Unlike many of the top-charting female artists of today, Ms Swift eschews tabloid behavior and asks fans to focus on her music," Ross said on Wednesday. "In some universal way, her life contests connect with similar moments that have brushed the fabric of others as well," Ross added.

A few more Swift milestones to note: "Speak Now" has the second-largest sales week of any country album since 1991. Only Garth Brooks' 1998 effort "Double Live" moved more, when it started with 1,085,000. Thus, Swift also achieves the biggest sales week of any female country act since 1991. Previously, the high-water mark was set by fellow crossover diva Shania Twain when her "Up!" started with 874,000 at No. 1 in 2002.

 And, "Speak Now" owns the biggest week for any album by a woman -- regardless of genre -- since 2000, when Britney Spears' "Oops! I Did It Again" danced into the No1 spot with 1,319,000. In total, just four albums by women have notched million-plus weeks. Aside from Swift and Spears, the Whitney Houston-fuelled "Bodyguard" soundtrack moved 1,061,000 during the busy Christmas week of 1992 and Norah Jones' "Feels Like Home" debuted at No1 with 1,022,000 in 2004.

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