Taylor Swift: The Best Selling Digital Artist of All Time?

Taylor Swift is annoying. There’s no denying it. She looks shocked every time she accepts her umpteenth award, and her face shows up on the big screen at award shows more than the person who’s hosting it. But there’s no denying one simple fact:

She is single-handedly dominating the music industry.

Yes, Taylor Swift, not Beyonce. And you can’t hate…

..nor should you

In their latest cover story, Businessweek analyzes just how much she is dominating the industry right now, and there are a few lines in there that made me understand why she’s always juggling so many awards…

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1. Swift’s new album, called 1989, sold 1.29 million copies in its first week. That was 22 percent of all album sales in the U.S.

2. 1989 sales represent the largest sales week for a record since Eminem’s The Eminem Show in 2002, and the biggest release in the past two years by far, topping Beyoncé, Coldplay, and Lady Gaga.

3. Before 1989, this year’s biggest album was Coldplay’s Ghost Story, which has sold a TOTAL of 737,000 since its release in May

4. Spotify is on track to pay Swift $6M in 2014 (this is a lot considering they pay a fraction of a penny per song)

5. sales of CDs for the first half of 2014 were 56M, that’s down from 681M in sales in 2002 (remember the streaming age article?)

And if all of this doesn’t phase you, take a look at Billboard right now. Swift claims two of the top 5 spots on the Hot 100. Shake it Off dropped from #1 to #3 as she beat her own hit with Blank Space (jumped from #13 to #1 post the AMAs).

Taylor Swift may just be the best digital sales artist of all time.

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Music for the Weekend: A Look at Otis Redding’s Dock of the Bay

Sittin’ in the morning sun
I’ll be sittin’ when the evening comes
Watching the ships roll in
Then I watch them roll away again, yeah

I’m sittin’ on the dock of the bay
Watchin’ the tide roll away, ooh
I’m just sittin’ on the dock of the bay
Wastin’ time

I love Otis Redding’s ‘Dock of the Bay,’ and after getting it stuck in my head after Scandal last week, I decided to look at the history behind it….

The song was written three days before Redding died in a plane crash on a rainy, foggy night in 1967. It was released in January 1968 and became his only single to reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100, and the first posthumous number-one single in US chart history (first to reach #1 after the death of an artist) . Along with his death, the record label that he helped build saw its demise as well (albeit seven years later).

That label, Stax Records, was not only a big competitor of Motown’s, but also encompassed both blacks & whites at a time when the racial divide was growing wider and wider in American society. Between 1960 and 1975, Stax had 167 Top 100 pop hits and established the careers of Redding, Isaac Hayes, the Staple Singers, Sam & Dave, Booker T & the MG’s and Wilson Pickett. Nevertheless, the label failed to gain rights to Redding’s discography, which instead belonged to Atlantic Records. Regarding “Dock of the Bay”, which was released so soon after Redding’s death, his guitarist Steve Cropper recalled:

We got a call from Atlantic saying, “We’ve got to rush something out. What have you got?” And I immediately said, “We need to put our hit out.”

‘They hadn’t even found Otis’s body yet.’

Cropper threw himself into completing Dock Of The Bay. He added electric guitar, seagulls, and the sound of waves.

‘Trying to work on something like that, when you don’t even know where one of your closest friends is, is difficult.’

‘Everybody was walking around staring at their feet for two months after that,’ says Stax musician Marvell Thomas.

‘There was true sadness at that place. Stax was usually a happy, peppy place, there was conversations in the hallways and songwriters over here and a demo going – that all stopped.’