It’s official, JT has reclaimed the title of King of Pop – in more ways than one.

Having sold over 1 million units of his comeback album The 20/20 Experience in his first week, it is safe to say his regency will not be usurped anytime soon.

According to Neilsen SoundScan (via Billboard), in the US, 968,000 copies of The 20/20 Experience flew off the shelves in the first week, after debuting at #1 on the Billboard 200 chart. Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, JT racked up an extra 106,000 records, ultimately “dethroning” David Bowie’s first album in a decade from the top position, down to #2, according to Billboard.

The American-sized blow to the British pop ranks being made all the more painful by the fact that not only was the highly-anticipated comeback-of-all-comebacks, Bowie’s The Next Day, but in the larger scheme of things, 20/20 outsold the rest of the top five albums on the British charts combined, according to Billboard.

It has been a long wait but patience has paid off for the pop star, who has been on a music hiatus for the past seven years after the enormous success of his sophomore album FutureSex/LoveSounds in 2006, which accumulated 684,000 sales upon first-week release in the States as well as 90,000 in the UK.

With his debut solo record Justified having racked a smaller but still impressive one-week sale figure of 439,000 in 2002, it seems the saying is true: things only get better with age.

In the face of obtaining such figures, Timberlake has subsequently been welcomed into the upper echelons of music royalty: an exclusive club of musicians who have managed to debut #1 in both their respective solo and band careers.Out of the 19 albums to reach 1 million first week sales, the 31-year-old Timberlake can make claim to three of them.

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Timberlake being the sixth person to pass ‘through the doors’ so to speak, following the likes of three of the four Beatles (McCartney, Lennon, and Harrison), Eminem and Beyonce. His past ‘N Sync days served him well in this context. The boy band’s 2000 album No Strings Attached sold 2.42 million units upon release in its debut week.

In addition to possessing the “golden key” to the #1 club, according to the Neilsen stats reported in Newsday, out of the 19 albums to break 900,000 sales in their opening week, the 31-year-old Timberlake can make claim to three of them. A major achievement in itself for the one-time boy band member-come-singer-come actor-come-MySpace-entrepenuer. Namely, his latest solo album, and ‘N Sync’s No Strings Attached and its 2011 follow-up Celebrity, which sold 1.9 million in its first week.

Newsday also note the overhwelming amount of JT exposure projected through various mediums leading up to the album’s release. From his Grammy performance of lead single ‘Suit And Tie’ with Jay-Z in January, and then his hosting stint on Saturday Night Live through to his week-long residency on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, as well as the exclusive iTunes stream of The 20/20 Experience – domination was the aim from the get-go.

With his latest being streamed 7.73 million times in its first week via Spotify, the online digital form of music consumption has proved to be a great marketing tool and if anything has helped rather than hindered the sales of the album.

In light of the 8 million streaming hits accumulated by grammy-award winning Mumford and Sons and their large sale figures for Babel, online streaming despite being marred in controversy can be perceived in the positive light an attitide that founder of Glassnote Records and distriubtor of Babel Glass has preomoted: “Spotify is a huge form of exposure, and they’re not stealing.” If anything according to some in the business, it is the most pragmatic way to tackle online piracy which has been a malady for the music industry of late.

It seems JT is just as savvy, with his previous $35 million buy-up of MySpace an indication of the direction he is intent on taking both musically and in the industry. He was the driving creative figure behind the planned reboot for the social media site to become more music-oriented, acting as a possible competitor to services like Spotify and Deezer, who have typified the reality of online music consumption.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise however; with 20/20 under his arm and a list of accolades at his feet, it seems Timberlake has brought more than sexy back – with a crown on the head to boot.

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