Pop group 'N Sync appear set to shatter a record by selling an estimated 2 million copies of their third album, No Strings Attached, in its first week, according to a source at Jive Records.
"We're looking at north of 2 million," but less than 2.5 million, said the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
The LP's projected first-week sales would usurp the current record holder for single-week sales, the Backstreet Boys' Millennium. That LP sold 1.1 million copies in a week, the best week for any album since SoundScan began tracking album sales in 1991. It is now certified 11-times platinum, meaning 11 million copies have been shipped to stores. Jive is also the Backstreet Boys' label.
The initial shipment for No Strings Attached which features the hit single "Bye Bye Bye" (RealAudio excerpt) was around 4 million copies.
Actual sales figures will be solidified late Tuesday (March 28). 'N Sync's Jive Records publicist could not confirm the source's estimates.
Retailers who witnessed the mania for No Strings Attached said they were not surprised by the projection.
In the band's hometown of Orlando, Fla., more than 1,000 fans crammed into Virgin Megastore on March 20 to be among the first to buy the album, forming a line that crossed the entire store. "It was pretty crazy," floor manager Shane Kelley said. "It will be our number one album for the week, and we expect it to be for quite a few weeks."
"It was insane," said Howard Krumholtz, rock buyer at Tower Records in West Hollywood, Calif., where the album sold about 450 copies. Krumholtz said he was surprised to see that customers who rushed to buy the album extended far beyond the teeny-bopper demographic. "It was much more across-the-board than we expected," he said. "It's not just a bunch of little girls coming in and buying it."
"Two out of every three of our customers wanted the 'N Sync album that first day," said Cindy Nelson, manager-in-training at Sam Goody in Fredericksburg, Va. "We had a lot of parents coming in during the day, and then toward the late afternoon we'd see more kids."
'N Sync's self-titled debut, which was released in 1998 and featured such hits as "Tearin' Up My Heart" (RealAudio excerpt), was certified 10-times platinum in January.
Their holiday album, Home for Christmas (RealAudio excerpt of title track), released in late 1998, is double platinum.
The quintet Justin Timberlake, Joey Fatone, James Lance Bass, Chris Kirkpatrick and JC Chasez formed in 1996.
The group announced in September that it was leaving RCA for Jive and had severed ties with its manager, Louis J. Pearlman. For a time, 'N Sync's career appeared to be in jeopardy when Pearlman sought an injunction to prevent the group from recording, but a judge denied the request in November.
The group has since settled a $150 million breach-of-contact lawsuit brought by BMG Entertainment and Pearlman's Trans Continental Media.