Justin Timberlake’s ’20/20 Experience’ sells massive 968,000 copies in first week

Now that’s what we call a comeback.

Justin Timberlake’s “The 20/20 Experience” has sold 968,000 copies in its first week, landing it at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. That marks the biggest sales debut of any album since Taylor Swift’s “Red” moved 1.2 million copies back in November, and the biggest sales week of Timberlake’s career as a solo artist, far surpassing the first-week performance of his last studio set, 2006’s “FutureSex/LoveSounds,” which sold 684,000 in its opening frame.

In addition to the above milestones, “The 20/20 Experience” also posted the 19th-largest opening sales week for any album since SoundScan started tracking data in 1991 (No. 1? ‘N Sync’s 2000 blockbuster “No Strings Attached”), as well as the largest debut frame for a male artist in almost five years (Lil Wayne sold just over a million copies of “Tha Carter III” back in June of 2008) and the third-largest debut for a solo male singer/non-rapper (only Usher’s “Confessions” and Garth Brooks’s “Double Live” sold more).

Among retailers, iTunes ranked as the top seller of the album this week, with Target coming in at No. 2 (the big-box chain offered an exclusive version of the album with two bonus tracks).

“The 20/20 Experience’s” massive first-week sales can no doubt be attributed to Timberlake’s tireless promotional push for the album over the last several weeks, beginning with a high-profile comeback performance on the Grammys and continuing with an “SNL” hosting stint, a week-long residency on “Jimmy Fallon” and the announcement of a summer stadium tour with “Suit & Tie” collaborator Jay-Z (dates are listed below).

Full Billboard results are due to be released tomorrow.

Did you buy “The 20/20 Experience”? If so, what did you think? Sound off in the comments.

“Legends of the Summer” tour dates:

July 17             Toronto, ON                Rogers Centre
July 19             New York, NY             Yankee Stadium**
July 22             Chicago, IL                  Soldier Field
July 26             San Francisco, CA     Candlestick Park
July 28             Los Angeles, CA         Rose Bowl
July 31             Vancouver, BC           BC Place Stadium
August 4          Hershey, PA               Hershey Stadium
August 6          Detroit, MI                   Ford Field
August 8          Baltimore, MD             M&T Bank Stadium
August 10        Boston, MA                 Fenway Park
August 13        Philadelphia, PA          Citizens Bank Park
August 16        Miami, FL                    Sun Life Stadium