Taylor Swift album posts top first-week sales in 12 years

US singer Taylor Swift pulled her music from Spotify more than a week ago, highlighting the alleged problem that the music-sharing platform does not pay artists enough for their music (AFP Photo/Jamie Mccarthy)

New York (AFP) - Taylor Swift's "1989" sold nearly 1.3 million copies in the United States in its first week, making it the biggest album release in 12 years, data showed.

Sales tracking service Nielsen Soundscan said that "1989", released a week ago, sold 1.287 million copies in the week through Sunday.

The sales are the highest for an album during a single week since 2002 when Eminem's "The Eminem Show" sold 1.322 million copies during its second week. Statistically the rap album sold fewer copies in the initial week after its release as it went on sale on a Friday.

"1989" is on course to be by far the biggest album of the year as it is already the only record by a single artist to go platinum -- or sell more than one million copies -- in 2014. The soundtrack to the Disney film "Frozen", which was released last year, has also gone platinum in 2014.

In another feat, Swift becomes the first artist to pull a hat-trick of three albums going platinum immediately. Her previous two albums, 2010's "Speak Now" and 2012's "Red", also sold more than one million copies in their first weeks.

Music industry executives have been banking on Swift to rescue album sales, which had been down this year.

Earlier this week Swift abruptly pulled her back catalogue from the streaming service Spotify in a move that was likely aimed at boosting sales.

Spotify and similar services have long been a bete noire for artists and music executives who say that the easy access devalues albums and decreases sales, although streaming companies insist that they give back most of their revenue.

The catchy dance tunes of "1989" mark an increasingly pop direction for the 24-year-old Swift, who started as a country singer and guitarist and released her first album at age 16.