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Justin Bieber's 'Believe' is year's top-selling debut so far

7:43 AM, Jun 27, 2012   |    comments
Justin Bieber accepts the award for pop/rock favorite male artist at the 38th Annual American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 21, 2010, in Los Angeles.
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Justin Bieber's believers have sent his new album to the top of Billboard.

Believe lands at No. 1 after selling 374,000 copies, the biggest debut so far this year, according to Nielsen SoundScan. It's also his fourth No. 1 album and his best sales week, eclipsing the 291,000 copies logged by My World 2.0 for its second week in April 2010.

It's not the year's biggest week overall. That belongs to Adele's 21, which sold 730,000 copies the week after herGrammy Awards wins. And Bieber's total falls below initial projections of 410,000 to 440,000 that were based on enormous first-day sales and pre-orders. Those predictions were scaled back by Sunday.

Considering the difficult climate for album sales, Bieber's mark "is a very robust number," says Keith Caulfield,Billboard's associate director of charts. "That Bieber can have the biggest opening week of the year says that he's doing a good job. It's always tough making that transition from tweeny-teeny pop star to young adult. It's a challenge, and he seems to be doing quite well so far."

Believe's opening week, the largest since Drake's Take Care sold 631,000 in December, jumps past Madonna'sMDNA, the former 2012 leader with 359,000.

Bieber previously reached the Billboard summit with My World 2.0, NeverSay Never: The Remixes and Under the Mistletoe. His 2009 debut, My World, peaked at No. 5.

By Edna Gundersen, USA TODAY

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