CSPC: Justin Timberlake Popularity Analysis

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Justin Timberlake - BOK Center

BIGGEST TRACKS – Justin Timberlake

The list of most successful songs is compiled in album equivalent sales generated by each of them. It includes the song’s own physical singles sales with a 0,3 weighting, its download and streaming sales, and with appropriate weighting too, plus its share among sales of all albums on which it is featured.

1. 2006 – SexyBack [FutureSex/LoveSounds]5,450,000
2. 2002 – Cry Me a River [Justified]4,540,000
3. 2013 – Mirrors [The 20/20 Experience]3,650,000
4. 2002 – Rock Your Body [Justified]3,370,000
5. 2006 – What Goes Around… / …Comes Around (Interlude) [FutureSex/LoveSounds]3,110,000
6. 2006 – My Love [FutureSex/LoveSounds]2,550,000
7. 2016 – Can’t Stop the Feeling [Orphan]1,900,000
8. 2002 – Señorita [Justified]1,650,000
9. 2013 – Suit & Tie [The 20/20 Experience]1,630,000
10. 2003 – Where is the Love? [Orphan]1,350,000
11. 2009 – Dead and Gone [Orphan]1,120,000
12. 2002 – Like I Love You [Justified]1,050,000
12. 2006 – Summer Love / Set the Mood (Prelude) [FutureSex/LoveSounds]1,050,000
14. 2006 – LoveStoned / I Think She Knows (Interlude) [FutureSex/LoveSounds]1,000,000
15. 2008 – 4 Minutes [Orphan]950,000

If you feel inspired by this list, we just created this CSPC Justin Timberlake playlist on Spotify!

35 thoughts on “CSPC: Justin Timberlake Popularity Analysis”

  1. 46 M is very disappointing for an artist of his statuses, especially when he would have sold only 36 million without the feats. He is not even among the ten best-selling artists of his generation. Obviously, their numbers are not bad but they are far from his statutus.

  2. His sales in Spain are incredibly low. I thought they liked teen oriented singers ? I mean, when he started he was fresh out of NSYNC and he never made it in Spain.

  3. Sold less than Britney AND local Janet ?

    Woo JT time to retire but don’t forget to apologize to Britney and Janet before you go 🙂

  4. Thanks! I thought FS/LS would have a higher total, closer to 20M cspc. I remember that album was everywhere back then. But I suppose that was already well into the period of declining album sales.

    With the reception Man of the Woods is getting, I can’t imagine it getting past 1.5 M total cspc.

  5. If I may ask, why Justin Timberlake’s and NSYNC’s final CSPC numbers are not included in the “CSPC: Top Selling Artists Ever (EAS)” list along with all other artists?

  6. 1.Bomt (31 M) > Control (15M) > Justified (11 M)
    2.Oidia (23 M) >Janet (19M) > Future sex (15M)
    3.Britney (12.9 M) >The Velvet rope (10 M) > The 20 experience (6.7 M)
    4.Itz (11 M) >All for you (10 M) >The 20 experience 2 (2.7M)
    5.Blackout (4 M) >Damita Jo (1.7 M)> Man of the Moon (1.5 M with luck).
    Plus: Circus (6.9 M). Femme Fatale (4.2 M).

    Without feats : Britney (98 M) > Janet (74 M) > Justin (36 M).

    Bomt (23.8 M). Justin Timberlake pure albums sales (23.4 M).

    1. Hi Lavigner!

      While I agree that JT is someway weaker than what he is supposed to be, this comparison isn’t really fair. Britney / Janet / JT started at very different moments and JT already had a career before, so even if it was his 1st/2nd/3rd album, he was as fresh as Britney was at the same stage of her discography. Britney’s third came in 2001 when she was 19, JT’s third was released in 2013 when he was 32. Also, he is a bit higher than 36m without feats as the biggest of his Orphan tracks, Can’t Stop the Feeling, is 100% his.

      To me the relevant comparison is with Ed Sheeran / Bruno Mars: they started many years after him, released less albums but still already amount to the same total as him. This is a definitive evidence that unlike how he is marketed, he isn’t the biggest pop star around since MJ’s career ended.

      1. He debuted when Britney if you considered nsync, but the limelight was divided by four. He was the most popular of them, but Britney was much more popular than him. Nsync always opened much better than Britney in Usa, but in the zone opened much better than Justified there even though Me against to the music was a flop there. And internationally, Justin did not make himself known until his debut solo. Therefore, until Justified, Justin was not a world star, and even in Usa, he was far of exposure of Britney there.

        However, I want to make a comparison that is now more unfair to Britney.

        If Britney debuted after the bomb and oops, she still sold 46 million, as much as Justin. If that number is without feats, she sold 45 million, 7-8 million more than Justin without the feats, 37-38 M.

        Justin, objectively, only had 3 successful albums and two failures that will not exceed three and two million respectively. Britney had 5 successful albums and 2 albums that sold more than 4 M.

        On the other hand, Janet has 4 successful albums and three of them exceed ten million. Justin has only three successful albums and two that exceed 10 million. And Janet, without feats, she sold almost twice as much as him without feats.

        Actually, Justin without feats and Nsync, sold only 37 million albums, which shows that without help from other artists, he achieved much less than these two women on their own. Exactly, his solo material represents 37 and 50 percent of the solo material of Britney and Janet respectively.

        1. Hi Lavigner!

          I’m not comparing Britney with Justin, I’m precisely saying that their careers / periods / pace of release is so much different that it is difficult to get an accurate picture of it. You say that JT only had 3 successful albums, that’s true, but he also released only 3 albums in his first 11 years!

          Anyway, it is clear that overall Britney is bigger. In the US, there may be a game if you check NSYNC + JT against Britney, but Worldwide she is undoubtedly much bigger than him. That’s why I compared him to Bruno Mars / Ed Sheeran / Justin Bieber instead, because he is more on their league than on the one of Britney. Also, there have been tons of debate about who’s going to be the new Michael Jackson, that question was everywhere when he and Usher were big, then Chris Brown, etc… but at the end of the day, JT never reached the same kind of popularity that his 3 current challengers obtained. Doo-Wops & Hooligans, Purpose and X are all bigger than anything ever released by JT. He also never truly dominated the game the way MJ, Prince, Springsteen, Phil Collins, Usher, Bieber and Ed did at some point.

          1. I compared Justin with Janet and Britney because they are, in some way, related. But you’re right to compare him better with Bruno and Justin B. It’s incredible that Justin is perceived as bigger than them. In my opinion, that’s because he always had a good marketing team that exaggerates his success, but this time, for the first time, the media, which have always praised him, are destroying him. I believe that this semi failure with his new album is an example of the influence of the media in the success in a artist sometimes. If they had praised his super bowl, now the sales of album would be better. I think the public is very manipulable and, for some reason, now we have to crush Justin.

            Do you plan to do an analysis of Ricky Martin or Julio Iglesias soon? I wonder who would be the most successful Latin artist in history.

    1. Hi Nathan!

      His cumulative tally is obviously good! The disappointment is more about status vs real sales. I posted Avril Lavigne right now: they both debuted in 2002, they both issued 5 albums (although JT’s fifth is still new) and Avril has much less collaborations. I’m quite sure 95% of people would expect JT to be much higher, they are almost tied (46m vs 43m) with the gap and more being entirely due to featurings. There is a gap between the general public’s perception and the reality. He is one of the biggest from the last 15 years, but one out of many more big artists, rather than topping them!

    1. No singer/actor for you?
      How about:
      1. Frank Sinatra
      2. Elvis
      3. Sting
      4. Oh yeah……..none of them have been done yet ……(better include police when doing Sting…….even if you do seperate it)

      Honorable mention……….Rod Stewart (Play it to the bone…….I know I’m reaching, but really dying to see Rod [Jeff Beck/Faces included}

  7. I did not understand what the reason you’re saying in the comments that JT never had was as big as his competitors like Bruno, Ed Sheeran and Bieber.
    I think the FutureSex / LoveSounds era was huge and I would like to better understand your statement. I’m new to the readings on this site.

    1. Hi Alisson!

      FS/LS was similar to the big albums of Bruno, Ed and Bieber in the US but that’s it. He never had albums spending 10+ weeks at #1, never really got the top seller of his era. He did top the Soundscan list in 2013 but only due to the lack of competition. Divide dominated like crazy, so did Purpose, with weeks at 1, 2 or even 3 singles simultaneously Top 3/5, Diamond albums in countries like France or Australia, something that James Blunt did in mid-00s. JT never managed this kind of success, he was big but not that big. For example, the one truly dominating charts and sales in 2007 was Amy Winehouse.

      1. Reading the information you gave me, three questions came to me about JT’s career.
        First. Was it detrimental to the period he spent focusing on movies and forgetting his singing career, thinking of the fact that he could have achieved his greatest success by releasing an album in 2008 or 2009?
        Second. Would not it be unfair to compare Ed Sheeran, Bruno or Bieber considering they started their career in the age of youtube and spotify rise, and the JT in that decade is already considered a veteran? And it really does not have much popularity on youtube, not even on spotify.
        Third. Do you see this period of haters as detrimental to Justin’s career as a whole?
        Thank you for answering me.

        1. Even if he was not to focus on his movies career. I doubted he will make that huge of an impact in terms of “Global” success. He is an R&B singer, and R&B singers always finds it tougher to sell outside of the English speaking world. If you look at Beyonce’s sales, a huge percentage of sales came from the English speaking countries, but in certain countries such as France or Germany (Which both is the top 5 biggest music market in the world), her sales are pathetic. When you look at Usher’s Confession album which was a huge success worldwide speaking. You look into the album sales and the same story occurs. It was heavily sold in the English speaking world, but did just ok in other countries. I never consider Justin as in the same league as Beyonce or Usher at the peek of their career. So I doubted he could’ve done so much more with his music had he were to focused more on music rather than acting.

        2. Hi Alisson!

          About the 3 questions:
          1) Yes, JT could have got a higher total to date if he had been more prolific. Waiting 7 years after your more successful album is surely not optimized. His film career no doubt impacted negatively his efficiency in getting records ready.
          2) We can’t say that really. There was no Spotify / YouTube at his prime, but album sales were much higher by then, the overall market was bigger in 2002 than it is now. He had a better contextual market and also more years to accumulate sales than Ed / Bruno / Bieber so it’s definitely not unfair to him, kind of the opposite.
          3) Bashing campaigns can’t really help, but they often come as a conclusion of something rather than the root cause. When the general public suddenly blame everything from an artist, it means they have been keeping some disagreement / unliked elements for years because the act was positively hyped, so it was hard to go against the general opinion, that’s why this kind of movements are always so brutal.

          Overall though, there isn’t that much more to look for in order to understand why his sales aren’t as big as his expected status – he has never been able to really cross over the main audience globally, it’s as simple as that. Basically, outside of the US all his albums combined haven’t sold more than Blunt’s Back to Bedlam alone, this says it all!

  8. He could never have been as big as his competitors like Bruno, Ed Sheeran, Amy Winehouse or J.Bieber imo. Because he was to busy with his film career. His filmography is bigger then his discography. Says it all, really.

  9. As a singer who started from a popular boy band, Justin Timberlake is doing pretty well. He has surpassed total EAS of N’Sync and has stayed relevant as a solo artist for 16 years and counting.

    Well, I really couldnt think of any music artist who started with a popular group and became a successful solo artist and stayed relevant with that span of time and counting.

    He has longevity but…

    My big issue with JT is that he doesnt seem to really focus on his music career. I mean I know creating music is not about sales but sales make good measurement of one’s success and popularity. He doesnt seem to also care about keeping his fans intact.

    Look at the time gap between his albums.

    His 1st album was released in 2002 which sold well but it took him four years to release his 2nd album (2006) which sold better than his 1st album.

    He could have taken advantage of his popularity. But what he did was the opposite.

    So after a long 7 years, he releases his 3rd album (2013). And then it took him another 5 years to release his 4th album (2018)

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