With ‘Speak Now,’ Taylor Swift becomes just the 7th artist in the last 10 years to sell one million albums in first week of its release

Taylor Swift - Speak Now (Big Machine Records)

Taylor Swift’s second album Speak Now has sold 1,047,000 copies in its first week, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

No other album sold even 100,000 copies this past week, as major labels avoided releasing other artists’ albums in the same week.  Is that a testament to Taylor Swift’s talent?  Or is she still enjoying a blissful combination of timing and good PR?  It’s no secret that her awards and chart success didn’t start coming in until after Kanye West famously stole her moment at the VMAs.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens when Kanye’s next album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy comes out, scheduled to be released November 22nd.  However, even before public backlash started for his now most infamous ego-trip, Kanye never sold one million copies of any of his albums in its first week.

In fact, in the last 10 years, only Taylor Swift and six other artists have accomplished that feat:

  • NSync: Celebrity – released July 24, 2001 (1.8 million copies sold its first week)
  • Eminem: The Eminem Show – released June 4, 2002 (1.3 million copies sold its first week)
  • Norah Jones: Feels Like Home – released Feb 10, 2004 (1 million copies sold its first week)
  • Usher: Confessions – released Mar 23, 2004 (1.1 million copies sold its first week)
  • 50 Cent: The Massacre – released Mar 3, 2005 (1.1 million copies sold its first week)
  • Lil’ Wayne: Tha Carter III – released June 10, 2008 (1 million copies sold its first week)

Obviously, album sales have been hurt by the Napster revolution and the growing availability of illegal music online.  But just how difficult has it become to successful move one million units in an album’s first week?

Well, not even Shania Twain’s Up! in 2002 or Outkast’s Speakerboxx/The Love Below in 2003 had first week sales of one million copies, though both have sold over 15 million copies since their release.

Is there hope for album sales to ever get back to where they once were?  Probably not.  But if someone like Taylor Swift can still sell a million albums in one week, then there could be hope for the music industry yet.

>> MTV: Taylor Swift tops Billboard 200 charts with Speak Now
>> EW: Taylor Swift leads the Billboard 200 album charts with a million records sold
>> WSJ: Taylor Swift’s ‘Speak Now’ sells one million copies in first week

And now your cell phone is a hotel room key? Cool!

I’ve had a smartphone for only about six months, but it’s dramatically opened my eyes to the future of technology.

According to MSNBC, a Clarion Hotel in Stockholm will be replacing their room keys with temporary mobile phones for guests.  A chip is embedded in the phone so that, when you hold it up to the door, it opens!  Huffington Post reports that the registration process could be cut out, replaced with entering in information on the phone itself.  Security would also be easier because room access could be cut from the phone immediately, says Yahoo.  The technology is being tested at the Swedish hotel before they expand to others.

This is awesome.

And it means so much more for the future, too.  In futuristic movies, doors are opened by pushing a handprint on a panel or a voice command – it’s even easier!  One button on a phone and you could open your hotel room, and soon your house front door, and then unlock your car.

Other things I believe will be true in the near future:
1. Cable TV and renting movies will cease to exist as we know it now.  will be  All video content will be delivered online and your big-screen TV will actually be a large computer monitor.
2. GPS, flashlights, iPods, and more will all be replaced or combined with your cell phone.  I don’t have a GPS in my car, but my iPhone tells me where I am and any directions I need. Power goes out? I turn on the flashlight app.
3. The cost of video games will go down, but people will have to pay for video game subscriptions to providers as they’ll be downloaded, instead of bought in a physical store with a disc or cartridge.  Interactive online gaming will continue to grow as the industry flourishes with improved systems and greater wi-fi accessibility.
4. Credit cards will no longer be physical cards, but rather applications on a phone that you can use to scan bar codes and pay for it.
5. Satellite radio will die out (or be forced to merge with other content providers), and pay-per-download will lose steam as Rhapsody and other paid music subscription services will become the predominant form of getting music, since increased free wi-fi availability will allow users to connect to these services anywhere, anytime.

It’s a Brave New World out there.  And if you’re still thinking “gosh, I wouldn’t know what to do with a smartphone” just tell yourself that in 10 years you won’t know what to do without one.  Maybe sooner.

Flirting while driving has caused nearly 1 million crashes

Distracted while driving?  30 U.S. states have banned texting while driving, and AAA has previously said they’d like to see all 50 states ban it by 2013.  As smartphones become more common, the law will likely expand to ban all cell phone use behind the wheel.

But what about flirting?

A British study found 976,000 motorists have been in accidents because the driver was flirting.  With other drivers on the road.  (Sounds like a Chevy Chase scene from National Lampoon’s Vacation, doesn’t it?)

Male drivers are the worst – 83% of those accidents were caused by men flirting instead of keeping their eyes on the road.  I can’t imagine why – surely, men should know by now that women do not swoon for “hey baby!” shouts or obnoxious horn honks.  Nevertheless, 46% of men admit to flirting behind the wheel and 36% of women do it, too.

According to the study, another 5 million people had close calls due to wandering eyes.  That’s 1 in 7 people who have almost gotten into an accident because they were checking out other drivers.

Distracted while driving?  Maybe we should all have tinted windows so we can’t look in.  And no rolling down the windows to flash the passerbys, either, or else this will happen:

Ouch.