There seems to be no stopping Susan Boyle from being the success story of the year. Her “I Dreamed A Dream” album, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, captured the top spot again for the fourth week in a row. All told, “I Dreamed A Dream” has sold nearly 2.5 million copies in the four weeks of its release and now stands second in sales in calendar year 2009 only to Taylor Swift’s “Fearless,” which has sold almost 3 million copies in 2009. Two weeks before the end of the year and, if sales hold true, Susan Boyle just might have the biggest selling album of the year.
That achievement can then rank right up there with her YouTube video for her “I Dreamed A Dream” audition performance on “Britain’s Got Talent.” YouTube announced last week that the “I Dreamed A Dream” video garnered 120 million views, more than three times the number of the second most viewed video, “David After Dentist,” where a child babbles to his father after a trip to the dentist.
Susan Boyle already has the most opening week sales of 2009, having knocked Eminem out of that position by nearly 100,000 copies. “I Dreamed a Dream” was also the highest positioned debut album by a female artist in the Nielsen Soundscan era, which began in 1991. She also broke the record on the British charts for the fastest selling debut album in history, surpassing another of Simon Cowell’s discoveries, Leona Lewis, for that distinction.
So… can she pull it off? Could Susan Boyle actually have the bestselling album of 2009 by year’s end? According to Billboard, “I Dreamed A Dream” sold 661,000 copies its fourth week, which is truly unprecedented, considering that many albums rarely sell above half a million even in their first week of release, traditionally the week where an album experiences its greatest sales. If the album recorded a 10 percent decrease in sells the next two weeks, sales would still put the album at 3.5 million copies sold. Taylor Swift’s “Fearless,” which sold 239,000 (and bowed in at #4 for the week), could sell the same amount (which is an increase of 42% over last week’s sales) for the next two weeks and would still fall short of Susan Boyle’s totals.
What is most notable about such a achievement on Susan Boyle’s part is that her album will have sold in six weeks more albums than Taylor Swift’s did all year (but in fairness to Swift, “Fearless” was released on November 11, 2008 and was the year’s third best-selling album at 2.1 million copies sold, which puts “Fearless” at over 5 million copies sold to date).
So it is possible. And with Susan Boyle, one has learned not to underestimate her, for she has gone from obscurity to the top of the music industry, from being unemployed to selling millions of albums in less than a year.
If Susan Boyle’s story isn’t the success story of the year, there isn’t one.