Justin Timberlake smashes expectations, sells 968,000 copies in first week, breaks iTunes record worldwide

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Image Credit: Tom Munro/RCA Records

Think how many suits and ties he can afford now.

Justin Timberlake’s comeback album, The 20/20 Experience, crushed industry projections, selling a mammoth 968,000 copies in its first week and easily topping the Billboard 200. In the last year, only one album has sold more units out of the gate: Taylor Swift’s Red, which scanned 1.2 million copies in its first seven days.

Timberlake scored the best sales week for a male artist since Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter III debuted to 1.01 million copies-sold in June 2008. And, as Billboard notes, Timberlake also earned third-biggest week for a solo male singer (aka: non-rapper), behind Usher’s Confessions, which debuted to 1.1 million in 2004, and Garth Brooks’ Double Live, which started at 1.09 million in 1998.

The 20/20 Experience outsold Timberlake’s previous solo albums with ease. His 2006 set FutureSex/LoveSounds topped the chart with 684,000 copies in 2006. His solo debut Justified debuted at No. 2 with 439,000 in 2002.

The longer he waits between albums, it seems, the more demand he stokes for a follow-up. Of course, Timberlake’s solo sales weeks have nothing on his former boy band, ‘NSync, which still holds the debut week record with their 2000 album No Strings Attached, which moved 2.42 million copies in week one.

According to Nielsen Soundscan, 53 percent (516,000) of albums sold were physical CDs, while 47 percent (452,000) were sold digitally in the U.S. alone. That’s the third-biggest digital sales week ever, behind Lady Gaga’s Born This Way, which controversially sold for 99 cents on Amazon and was downloaded 662,000 times in one week, and Swift’s Red (465,000).

Timberlake’s album excelled most at Apple’s iTunes store, where it streamed in full to lure pre-orders the week prior to release. Worldwide, 20/20 reportedly sold over 580,000 copies on iTunes alone — the best first-week album sales ever for the retailer.

Also making a splash (albeit a much smaller one) at No. 2 was Kacey Musgraves. The breakout country artist’s critically acclaimed debut Same Trailer Different Park sold 43,000 copies in its first week, enough to top the Country Albums chart.

Check out the full chart details over at Billboard.

More on EW.com:
Justin Timberlake’s ‘The 20/20 Experience’: EW Review
Kacey Musgraves’ ‘Same Trailer Different Park’: EW Review

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