The Internet is full of interesting things to read outside of The A.V. Club—no, really! In our periodic Read This posts, we point you toward interesting or noteworthy pieces that caught our eye.

Justin Timberlake may have sold an insane amount of records this past week, but according to The Hollywood Reporter, The 20/20 Experience almost didn’t come out. A fascinating new article in the publication details the genesis of the record, which Timberlake’s manager said took just 20 days to make, as well as the money behind Timberlake’s whole “return” to music. It’s all very insider baseball, but it should make non-industry nerds realize that the former N’Sync-er didn’t just decide to make a record right this second out of the goodness of his heart.


In the piece, writer Shirley Halperin details Timberlake’s 2009 deal with LiveNation, who paid the singer $20 million—$5 million which was just because—to tour at some point in the near future. As Timberlake explored acting and MySpace and whatever, LiveNation reportedly got antsy and thought about calling back its $15 million from the singer. Hence, this new record and tour.

The article also goes into how the dual Jay-Z/Timberlake tour came about (fear of lackluster sales) and the incredibly quick media run-up to the album’s release, and basically confirms that Timberlake will be doing a solo tour this fall. That should make it all the easier to pay LiveNation back.