It's official. Justin Bieber's Believe has sold 374,000 in its first week according to Nielsen SoundScan, garnering the 18-year-old his fourth No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 chart. That's the most chart-toppers for any act in the two-and-a-half-year span since Bieber made his chart debut in December 2009.
Believe registers the biggest debut sales week for an album this year, surpassing the 359,000 start of Madonna's MDNA. The last set to earn a larger launch was Drake's Take Care on the tally dated Dec. 3, 2011. It started with 631,000.
(The best sales frame overall in 2012 for an album was earned by Adele's 21 in the wake of her multiple Grammy Awards wins in February. It sold 730,000 in the week after the Grammy show.)
Bieber also notches his own personal best sales week, beating the 291,000 that My World 2.0 sold in its second week back in April of 2010.
A full recap of the week's top 10 selling albums and digital songs will follow on the morning of Wednesday, June 27.
Last Wednesday (June 20), industry sources had initially projected that Believe was going to debut with between 410,000 to 440,000. That figure was scaled back to 390,000 to 410,000 by Friday (22) and then down to 360,000 to 380,000 by Sunday (24). As we've noted previously, estimating future sales is difficult and projections can change on a daily basis. Believe's original forecast was inflated by the set's huge first-day sales and significant number of pre-orders.
Bieber previously led the Billboard 200 with My World 2.0, 2011's Never Say Never: The Remixes and Under the Mistletoe. Believe is his sixth top 10 effort overall -- he's only missed the No. 1 rung with his My World debut (No. 5) and My Worlds Acoustic (No. 7).
Believe was led by the hit single "Boyfriend," which debuted and peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. The set's second official single is "As Long As You Love Me," and its radio promotion will begin in earnest on July 9.
During release week, Bieber was in full-on promotion mode to tout the new album. NBC aired a two-night special dedicated to the star (June 20-21), while he also sat down for a live YouTube chat with NBC personality Jimmy Fallon (21). He also stopped by MTV on June 19 for a "TRL"-style "Bieber Live" show and visited CBS' "Late Show With David Letterman," BET's "106 & Park" and ABC's "The View" (all on June 20).