It’s been a year since the COVID-19 pandemic turned life upside down, but many top artists have created a bright spot by debuting new music. Instead of delaying the release of new albums to coincide with tours — when attending concerts is safe again — these musicians have opted to put the happiness of their fans first.
Of course, that doesn’t mean releasing an album during a global pandemic is easy. Many artists who were planning to drop new music before the COVID-19 crisis hit faced various delays along the way. This includes A-list talent like Alanis Morissette, Luke Bryan, Alicia Keys, Lady Gaga and the Foo Fighters.
At present, no one knows when these artists will be able to perform their new songs in front of a live audience, but fans will be ready and waiting to buy tickets as soon as possible. Here’s a look at some of the biggest names in music who have released albums during the pandemic.
Taylor Swift, ‘Folklore’
On July 24, 2020, Taylor Swift released her surprise album “Folklore.” Her eighth studio album was the first album of 2020 to sell 1 million copies in the U.S.
Rolling Stone crowned “Folklore” the best album of 2020, and sales numbers support the title. Officially the biggest album of 2020, sales totaled nearly 2.3 million album-equivalent units, according to the publication.
Not surprisingly, “Folklore” reached the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200, and remained on the chart for 32 weeks. Swift’s net worth is $400 million.
Taylor Swift, ‘Evermore’
On Dec. 11, Taylor Swift surprised fans with yet another new album — “Evermore.” Described as the “sister record” to “Folklore,” the album sold 1 million copies globally in its first week.
“Evermore” reached the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200 on Dec. 25. Impressively, “Folklore” held the No. 2 spot that week, making Swift the first woman to hold the top two spots in the same week since the chart debuted in 1991.
Dua Lipa, ‘Future Nostalgia’
Originally slated for an April 3, 2020, release, Dua Lipa dropped “Future Nostalgia” a week early on March 27, 2020. In a tearful Instagram Live, she announced her decision to debut the album early as a way to hopefully cheer her fans up a bit amid the pandemic.
Clearly a hit, “Future Nostalgia” peaked at the No. 4 spot on the Billboard 200, and stayed on the chart for a remarkable 48 weeks. Album sales reached 500,000 certified units on Dec. 15, 2020, according to the RIAA.
Dua Lipa’s net worth is $16 million.
The Weeknd, ‘After Hours’
On March 20, 2020, The Weeknd — aka Abel Tesfaye — released “After Hours,” his fourth studio album. The biggest album of the first half of 2020, according to Alpha Data’s mid-year ranking, “After Hours” also contained the third most popular song from the same time period — “Blinding Lights.”
The album made it to the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200, and remained on the charts for an incredible 50 weeks. Album sales reached 2 million certified units on March 9, 2021, according to the RIAA.
The Weeknd’s net worth is $100 million.
Lady Gaga, ‘Chromatica’
Originally slated for an April 10, 2020, debut, Lady Gaga pushed the release of “Chromatica” to May 29 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A smashing success, it quickly became her sixth consecutive No. 1 album, along with the biggest debut of 2020 for a female artist and the fifth-largest of all 2020 albums — at the time of its release.
Specifically, “Chromatica” sold 53,000 copies in its first week, making it Lady Gaga’s fastest-selling album since “Artpop” in 2013. Beyond popular, it spent 38 weeks on the Billboard 200 chart.
Lady Gaga’s net worth is $320 million.
Luke Bryan, ‘Born Here Live Here Die Here’
In 2020, country music superstar and “American Idol” judge Luke Bryan pushed the release of his album “Born Here Live Here Die Here” from April 24 to Aug. 7 due to the pandemic. The album’s release was originally scheduled to coincide with his “Proud to Be Right Here Tour,” which was ultimately postponed until 2021.
Bryan’s seventh studio album scored the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s Top Country Albums and remained on the chart for 30 weeks. Album sales reached 500,000 certified units on Feb. 2, 2021, according to the RIAA.
His net worth is $160 million.
Future, ‘High Off Life’
Released on May 15, 2020, Future’s “High Off Life” featured several big-name guest artists, including Drake, Travis Scott, DaBaby, Meek Mill, Lil Uzi Vert and Lil Baby. A smashing success, the album reached sales of 1 million certified units on July 29, 2020, according to the RIAA.
“High Off Life” also scored the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200, and remained on the chart for a notable 42 weeks. Future’s net worth is $40 million.
Foo Fighters, ‘Medicine at Midnight’
Originally slated for a 2020 release to celebrate the band’s 25th anniversary, the Foo Fighters were forced to delay the release of “Medicine at Midnight” to Feb. 5, 2021, due to the pandemic. A major hit, the album was their third No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Album Sales chart, selling 64,000 copies in the U.S. in the week ending Feb. 11.
To honor their 10th studio album, the group launched Foo Fighters Radio on SiriusXM. The limited-run channel hit the air on Feb. 3 and will continue through April 4.
Frontman Dave Grohl’s net worth is $320 million.
Alicia Keys, ‘Alicia’
She initially planned to release her seventh studio album “Alicia” on March 20, 2020, but Alicia Keys ultimately postponed its debut until Sept. 18 due to the pandemic. Welcomed eagerly by fans, “Alicia” debuted in the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s Top R&B Albums chart.
This marks her eighth top three album on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and eighth top five album on the Billboard 200 chart. In its first week, “Alicia” sold 51,700 copies and garnered 11.9 million streams, according to Rolling Stone.
Keys’ net worth is $150 million.
Alanis Morissette, ‘Such Pretty Forks in the Road’
She planned to release “Such Pretty Forks in the Road” on May 1, 2020, but Alanis Morissette postponed its debut to July 31 due to the COVID-19 crisis. Her first record since 2012 only spent one week on Billboard’s Top Rock Albums chart, but in the No. 1 spot.
In its first week, “Such Pretty Forks in the Road” sold 23,000 equivalent album units — 20,000 units were from album sales — according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data. Morissette’s net worth is $45 million.
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All net worth information is from Celebrity Net Worth and is accurate as of March 12, 2021.