In case you had any doubt, Billboard has made it official: Justin Timberlake’s The 20/20 Experience will debut at #1 when the albums chart is released Wednesday.
That part was inevitable. The real question was whether the singer, who has kept fans waiting since 2006 for a new album, would be able to sell 1 million records in the first week . This has become a nearly impossible feat in the digital download age, but Taylor Swift accomplished it in October, moving 1.2 million units of her album Red, giving Swift the highest first-week album sales in a decade. Surely Justin Timberlake could dethrone her?
Well, according to Nielsen SoundScan, it was not meant to be. The 20/20 Experience moved 968,000 copies. Though it’s not a milli, the figure is still impressive: Billboard said it is the 19th-largest week for an album since SoundScan started tracking data in 1991.
Proving that JT has been on top for a while, the champs for the all-time best-selling week are from Timberlake’s past life, when a little group called ’NSYNC dropped an album titled No Strings Attached. Back on April 8, 2000, that album sold 2.42 million copies and easily reached #1 on the Billboard 200. (’NSYNC, by the way, released their debut album 15 years ago.)
Justin will get another chance to dominate the charts when Volume 2 of The 20/20 Experience is released. But as ubiquitous as the singer was leading up to the first volume, what else is left for him to do?
Keith Caulfield, associate director of charts/retail for Billboard magazine, told MTV News earlier this week that Justin had made all the right moves. “He’s not really doing anything wrong and, in fact, has done everything right,” Caulfield said of the media blitz around the album. “He’s been very careful in the kind of promotion he’s done for the album, and it’s paid off.”
Just last week, Timberlake released the video for “Mirrors,” the second clip from the album, an emotional piece different enough from “Suit & Tie” to get even more people onboard The 20/20 Experience.
How many copies do you think Justin will sell as the weeks roll on? Make your predictions in the comments below!