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People Still Buy Music: Justin Timberlake's The 20/20 Experience was the top album of 2013, relatively speaking

After years of languishing in (non-)obscurity, Justin Timberlake turned things around for himself in 2013. Nielsen reports that the singer/actor/media entity’s comeback album, The 20/20 Experience, was the best-selling record of last year, moving about 2.43 million copies since March 2013.

Unfortunately, while phrases like “best selling” might make those numbers sound impressive, Billboard notes that The 20/20 Experience actually had the lowest total for any yearly chart-topper since 1991, when Nielsen began tracking the figures. Adele’s 21, for instance, topped 2012’s year-end chart by selling 4.41 million records; it was also 2011’s best-seller, moving an additional 5.82 million albums that year.


If that news wasn’t bleak enough, Billboard also notes that 20/20 was the only record to sell more than 2 million copies last year. Overall, album sales dropped 8 percent in 2013, from 316 million in 2012 to 289.4 million last year. While vinyl sales were up 33 percent over 2012’s numbers, CD sales dropped about 14 percent, and even digital numbers dropped marginally, despite Beyoncé’s December iTunes bomb.

Other bestsellers from 2013 include Eminem’s Marshall Mathers LP 2 (1.73 million copies), Luke Bryan’s Crash My Party (1.52 million), Imagine Dragons’ Night Visions (1.4 million), and Bruno Mars’ Unorthodox Jukebox (1.4 million). Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories was the best-selling vinyl album of 2013, moving 49,000 total LPs.

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