When word first emerged that Ryan Adams was covering Taylor Swift’s 1989 in its entirety, there was a lot of worried talk among Ryan’s hardcore fans about how this might be his “Touch of Grey” moment where he got too popular too fast. But everyone can relax because it appears those fears were unfounded. For all the online buzz (not to mention asinine gender-privilege debates) inspired by the album, it does not appear to be reaching much beyond Ryan’s previously established fan base. So far, it’s following the same debut-high-and-fall-fast pattern as Ryan’s other albums.
After debuting at a respectable No. 7 last week, DRA 1989 takes a steep second-week drop all the way down to No. 22 in the Billboard 200 album-sales chart dated Oct. 17. That mirrors what happened with last year’s self-titled Ryan Adams album, which debuted at No. 4 — and in an odd coincidence, also dropped to No. 22 the following week. Ryan Adams was off the chart entirely after just seven weeks; as of this past August, it had sold 134,000 copies. It seems likely that DRA 1989 will top out at around that same figure.
By contrast, Swift’s original 1989 continues to show impressive staying power coming up on a year since its original release. Her 1989 is at No. 7 this week (where DRA 1989 was last week), its 49th on the chart, and has yet to spend a single week outside of the top-10. It has also sold more than 5 million copies in the U.S.
UPDATES — 10/13/2015: A week later, DRA 1989 is down another 18 notches to No. 40 in its third week on the chart. Swift’s 1989, meanwhile, climbs one spot to No. 6 in its 50th week in the top-10.
10/20/2015: On the Oct. 31 chart, DRA 1989 plummets another 43 notches down to No. 83 in week four — while Swift’s original 1989 holds steady at No. 6 after 51 weeks.
10/27/2015: DRA 1989 drops again on the Nov. 7 chart, but only one notch to No. 84 in week number five. Taylor’s original 1989, meanwhile, is perilously close to dropping out of the top-10 for the first time ever — down three spots to No. 9 as it marks one full year on the charts.
11/3/2015: Week six finds DRA 1989 resuming its freefall, taking a 55-spot plummet down to No. 139 on the Nov. 14 chart in week six. Upstairs from there, Taylor’s 1989 begins its SECOND YEAR in Billboard’s top-10 by rebounding two spots back up to No. 7.
11/10/2015: The CD/vinyl release of DRA 1989 helps it take a big rebound in week six, all the back up to No. 51 in week seven. But this weeks’ big news is with Swift’s original, which is finally out of the top-10 for the first time — pushed down to No. 11 in week 53 by four top-10 debuts and Chris Stapleton’s post-CMA buzz taking him to No. 1. Odds are she’ll be back in the top-10 next week.
11/17/2015: DRA 1989 resumes its freefall, right back down to No. 138 in its eighth week. That does put it ahead of last year’s Ryan Adams for chart longevity, at least; but given the 87-spot plunge that 1989 just took, it’s 50-50 whether or not the album will still be on the charts next week. Also, to my surprise, Swift’s original 1989 did not rebound into the top-10 this week. It drops three spots to No. 14.
11/24/2015: And eight weeks is all DRA 1989 managed (at least in the initial run), as it drops off the Billboard 200 altogether on the Dec. 5 chart topped by Justin Bieber. Swift’s time in the top-10 with her 1989 might be done, too, as it slips four spots to No. 18 in week 56.
12/22/2015: After an absence of nearly a month, DRA 1989 pops back onto the chart at a healthy No. 84 (byproduct of the album’s release on vinyl, most likely) for a ninth week on the Jan. 2 chart topped (again) by Adele. And Swift’s 1989 is back in the top-10, at No. 9 in its 60th week. As for sales, DRA 1989 stands at 115,000 copies (89,000 of them digital), which is short of the 134,000 that Ryan Adams was at back in August. DRA 1989 has also been streamed on-demand 30.4 million times, according to Nielsen Soundscan.
12/29/2015: DRA 1989 hangs in there for a 10th week, at No. 184 on the Jan. 9 chart — a 100-place drop, which means it’s probably gone next week. But Swift’s 1989 is still in the top-10, up a notch to No. 8 in week No. 61.