LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Justin Timberlake’s first single in five years - “Suit & Tie” - fell short of sales expectations for its first week and was kept from the top spot on the Billboard digital songs chart by a novelty rap act.
“Suit & Tie,” which features rapper Jay-Z, sold 314,000 downloads, according to figures released on Wednesday by Nielsen SoundScan.
Industry experts had expected about 350,000 downloads for Timberlake’s widely publicized single, which precedes a new album later in 2013 - his first since 2006.
But Timberlake, 31, who has been focused on building a Hollywood acting career, was dressed down on the digital chart by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ “Thrift Shop” featuring rapper Wanz, which sold some 341,000 downloads in the week ending on January 20.
It was the second consecutive week atop the digital songs chart for the novelty rap song about eschewing designer clothes for a second-hand look.
Timberlake will perform his first concert in five years during a private Super Bowl-related event in New Orleans on February 2, DirectTV announced on Wednesday. The invitation-only concert will not be shown on TV, the satellite providers said.
On the Billboard 200 album chart, rapper A$AP Rocky’s debut album “Long.Live.A$AP” entered at the top spot, selling about 139,000 units last week.
The New York rapper outpaced the child-focused compilation “Kidz Bop 23,” also in its first week, that features children performing recent pop hits.
“Kidz Bop 23” sold 78,000 units last week and the series of albums have sold some 13.3 million albums since its 2001 debut.
The soundtrack to musical-film “Pitch Perfect” landed at the No. 3 spot on the Billboard 200 and was followed by country-pop starlet Taylor Swift’s “Red” and singer Bruno Mars’ “Unorthodox Jukebox” in the top five.
The soundtrack to the stage-to-screen adaptation of musical “Les Miserables” fell to sixth from third, failing to capitalize on three big wins at the Golden Globe Awards, Hollywood’s second-biggest prize to the Oscars, on January 13.
Last week’s top album, “Burning Lights” by Christian singer-songwriter Chris Tomlin, tumbled to No. 22 on the chart. The album’s sharp fall was expected as opening week sales were largely boosted by pre-orders through churches and a national Christian convention, Billboard said.
Album sales for the past week totaled 4.97 million, down 2 percent from the same week last year, but year-to-date album sales were up 2 percent from 2012, totaling 16.32 million so far in 2013.
Some 27.82 million songs were downloaded last week, which was flat compared with the same week last year. A total of 91.17 million songs have been downloaded in 2013, a rise of 2 percent.
Reporting by Eric Kelsey; Editing by Jill Serjeant and Mohammad Zargham