Official: Justin Timberlake's '20/20 Experience' Sells 968,000 Copies, Debuts at No. 1 on Billboard 200

Justin Timberlake 20/20 Release party - P 2013
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Justin Timberlake 20/20 Release party - P 2013

The pop superstar scores his best sales week ever with his first album since 2006.

It's official: Justin Timberlake's new album The 20/20 Experience debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, selling 968,000 copies in its first week, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

20/20, released on March 19, is Timberlake's second No. 1 album and logs his best sales week yet. It follows his last release, 2006's FutureSex/LoveSounds, which arrived atop the list with his previous high: 684,000. Timberlake's first album, 2002's Justified, debuted and peaked at No. 2 with a 439,000 start.

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20/20's monster sales are the 19th-largest week for an album since SoundScan started tracking the data in 1991. The all-time best-selling week was when Timberlake's former group, 'N Sync, saw its No Strings Attached album debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart on April 8, 2000, with 2.42 million records sold.

The full top 10 of the new Billboard 200 -- along with further sales analysis about 20/20's arrival -- will be revealed on Wednesday, March 27.

Timberlake's bow with 20/20 is the biggest overall sales frame since Taylor Swift's Red debuted with 1.2 million on the Nov. 10, 2012. Among male artists, Timberlake had the largest week in nearly five years. The last one with more sales was Lil Wayne's Tha Carter III, which debuted with 1.01 million on June 28, 2008.

Interestingly, 20/20 also tallies the third-biggest week for a solo male singer (aka: non-rapper). Only Usher and Garth Brooks have scored larger frames. Their Confessions (2004) and Double Live (1998) sets debuted with 1.10 million and 1.09 million, respectively.

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Sources say Apple's iTunes Store was the top seller of 20/20 for the week, as overall digital sales, with Target its No. 2 account. The latter was the only retailer with an exclusive version of the album: It includes two bonus songs unavailable anywhere else: "Dress On" and "Body Count." Target has been heavily promoting the album via a series of TV commercials, the first of which premiered during CBS' broadcast of the Grammy Awards on Feb. 10. For its part, iTunes had an exclusive stream of 20/20 that premiered on March 11 -- more than a week before the album dropped on March 19.

During 20/20's debut week, the lowest advertised price for the album at a national retailer was $7 -- both Walmart and were selling the physical CD for that price. Target promoted its exclusive version for $9.99. iTunes and its main competitor, Amazon MP3, sold the standard digital album for $10.99.

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In the lead-up to the release of the album, Timberlake hosted and performed on NBC's Saturday Night Live (March 9) and had a weeklong residency on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon (March 11-15). He also starred in his own TV concert special, Target Presents: The iHeartRadio Album Release Party, which aired twice on the CW during release week: March 19 and 22. The show was first streamed live on the Web via the iHeartRadio service on March 18.