Justin Timberlake could sell a million records in The 20/20 Experience’s first week of release, making it his second No. 1 album and his highest sales debut ever. No easy feat, especially in this unpredictable musical climate, but the business-savvy singer understood you have to do more than just promote the music if you want to break records.
Timberlake managed to saturate the news cycle leading up to his album’s release with TV commercials, late night comedy stints and a very smart Target sponsorship, which managed to bump up his sale predictions from an initial figure of 500,000 copies to Billboard reporting it was looking like he had sold 950-975,000 copies by the end of the week. (The final sales stats for The 20/20 Experience are expected, at the latest, Wednesday morning.) Even more impressively, he accomplished all this without making you feel sick of him.
Timberlake seemed to be everywhere leading up to his third album’s release on March 19. His latest release marked his return to music seven years after releasing 2006’s FutureSex/LoveSounds, a record that sold 684,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Timberlake took over your television, from those Bud Light Platinum commercials that featured the brand’s Creative Director performing “Suit & Tie” alongside some very thirsty fans to his fifth time hosting SNL, which gave the NBC show its highest-rated episode in 14 months. Not to mention JT joined Jimmy Fallon for a week-long Late Night residency that had him not only previewing songs off the album, but showing how funny he really is with skits that ranged from a barbershop quartet rendition of “Sexy Back” to a Michael McDonald impression that featured McDonald himself.
Timberlake’s decision to release a deluxe edition of the album with two extra songs only available through Target, also helped grab sales. The store ran fan-centric commercials featuring Timberlake week of release, along with a release day concert that aired on the CW and helped premiere his new video for “Mirrors.” Target is reported to be the album’s second-biggest retailer, right after iTunes.