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In 2007, amidst personal struggles that were publicized by the press worldwide and frequent court visits, the last thing on Britney Spears's mind was promoting her then new record Blackout. The album hit number two on the Billboard 200 albums with minimal promotion upon release, but took a few years to officially sell a million copies in the U.S.
Billboard's Gary Trust revealed Blackout's latest sales total on Sunday when answering fan questions about Spears' album sales. Using the numbers from Nielsen SoundScan, the music sales tracker, Trust reported that Blackout has sold over one million copies since its October 2007 release. The album's sales culminated to around 988,000 copies sold in 2011 and remained stagnant, which peeved Spears fans because Blackout was so close to attaining one million-selling Platinum status.
Spears' fans responded to Blackout's almost platinum sales with specified weeks during the year dedicated to boosting the album's sales. One notable week took place in July of last year where fans came together and created “Blackout Purchase Week,” in hopes boosting the album to number one on Billboard's album charts and having it achieve Platinum status. While Blackout did not re-chart to number one on the albums chart, the purchase week did give the album a sales spike that helped it come closer to selling one million units in the U.S. Nearly a year later and the album has gone on to finally hit one million in sales.
Blackout remains to be Spears' only studio album to not debut at number one on the Billboard 200 after being outsold by the Eagles' Long Road Out of Eden. Spears' album was set to top the chart, but word got out that the Eagle' Wal-Mart exclusive album sold more copies than Spears. Wal-Mart put out a press release announcing that the Eagles sold double Spears' reported numbers and Billboard did a controversial rule change to its chart methodology and allowed the Eagles to take the number one spot with Spears debuting at number two. Blackout also is Spears' only studio effort to not have a Platinum certification for shipping one million units. Now that the album has sold one million copies, it is up to team Spears to contact the Recording Industry Association of America to verify Blackout for a Platinum certification.
The fan-favorite album spawned Spears's dark club hit, “Gimme More,” her MTV Video of the Year winning song, “Piece of Me,” and “Break the Ice,” her first animated music video. The album also first featured Circus single “Radar” on its track list. Aside from fan love, the album also received much critical acclaim. NPR said Blackout was “against all odds, a good album” and Pitchfork called it an “extraordinary album” of “superb modern pop.” Rolling Stone critic Rob Sheffield even went on to write that Blackout's unique electronic sound in 2007 inspired many contemporary pop albums and artists. He further wrote that Blackout is “possibly the most influential pop album of the last five years” in January 2011. The album was included in The Times and Rolling Stone's reader poll top 10 albums of the 2000s decade.
See Britney's music video for “Piece of Me”
Update: Blackout's one million sales prompted Billboard magazine to update its story after fans became curious about when the album actually reached this milestone. Billboard updated its original story today to say that Blackout actually crossed one million sales during the week of July 24 last year. It was not reported until Sunday's column though that Blackout had sold over a million copies.