Hot on the heels of two big-time singles (“Suit and Tie,” “Mirrors”) and hosting/musical guest double duty on Saturday Night Live, Justin Timberlake‘s The 20/20 Experience is now the No. 1 album in the country, selling 968,000 copies in its first week, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The 20/20 Experience is also the best-selling album of 2013 thus far.
Though JT just missed the million mark, the sales represent his biggest debut week ever (as a solo artist). His last album, 2006′s Future Sex/Love Sounds, debuted at No. 1 with 684,000 sold. His solo debut, Justified, hit No. 2 with 439,000 sold. (Related: How JT had such a killer sales week.)
But it wasn’t just a great week in America for the former ‘N SYNC member. Globally, the album topped the iTunes charts in 89 countries, becoming the fastest-selling record in iTunes history.
According to Billboard, The 20/20 Experience represents the best sales frame since Taylor Swift‘s Red, which dropped in October 2012 with a 1.2 million debut. It’s also the third-best start for a solo male singer ever, tallying behind Usher‘s Confessions (1.10 million, 2004) and Garth Brooks‘ Double Live (1.09 million, 1998).
Much of the album’s success comes from digital sales — it’s the third-best digital debut ever and, according to Billboard‘s sources, had its biggest sales on iTunes. Target, which was reportedly the No. 2 retailer, has deemed the record one of its top three best-selling albums of all time, and makes Timberlake the store’s best-selling male artist since 2002.
Although it’s been a big week for Timberlake, he still has a ways to go to be the all-time best-seller — as a solo artist, that is. The 20/20 Experience‘s opening week is Nielsen SoundScan’s 19th-best ever, but his former group ‘N SYNC still holds the title, with 2000′s No Strings Attached selling 2.42 million in its debut.
A full list of the Billboard 200 album chart is expected today (March 27).
-Kevin Rutherford, Radio.com