Why Justin Timberlake Returned to Music

Inside the making of '20/20 Experience'

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 28, 2013 10:57 AM CDT | Updated Mar 28, 2013 10:59 AM CDT

(Newser) – Back in 2011, Justin Timberlake was staunchly declaring he wouldn't be putting out any new music in the near future. Less than two years later, his 20/20 Experience debuted at No. 1 on Billboard and sold almost a million copies in its first week. What happened? As the Hollywood Reporter explains, Live Nation has been partnering with Timberlake for a few years, and part of his $20 million deal with the entertainment company involved a touring commitment. As one "high-ranking" insider explains, "There is a due date by which you have to start touring—at some point, [Live Nation] has to call in the loan."

Thus came Timberlake's incredibly fast album rollout—it took just three months, compared to the usual year or more—and insane media blitz, including a week of appearances on Jimmy Fallon's show, a surprise appearance at SXSW, an SNL hosting gig, and a Target ad campaign. Timberlake's manager has said the album was made in just 20 days, and reviews have been mixed, leading one to wonder if it was rushed simply so Timberlake would have something to tour with. His first single didn't do as well as expected, so Jay-Z came to the rescue: He'll be touring with Timberlake, in case it turns out the former boy bander can no longer sell out stadiums.

In this Feb. 20, 2013 file photo, Justin Timberlake performs on stage during the BRIT Awards 2013 at the o2 Arena in London.
In this Feb. 20, 2013 file photo, Justin Timberlake performs on stage during the BRIT Awards 2013 at the o2 Arena in London.   (Photo by John Marshall/Invision/AP, File)
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