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Backstreet Boys Vs NSYNC: Who Really Is Better?

Let's talk statistics, here.

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Now hey, I am but a simple music lover who enjoys a rockin' harmony but come on, we've got to look at the facts here.

By facts, I mean numbers. And by numbers, I mean those provided by the Recording Industry Association of America (because we all know that Backstreet Boys dominated NSYNC when it came to worldwide sales).

Let's take a look at our contenders:

In the Red Corner: Boys Who Can Sing

In the Blue Corner: Boys Who Can Also Sing


Let's begin.

Round one: debut albums

Backstreet Boys

(I'm counting the '97 US release of Backstreet Boys for this one)

Released: August 12, 1997

Certified Units: 14 Million

Certifications: 14x Multi-Platinum | April 5, 2001

Singles released: 6


Released: March 24, 1998

Certified Units: 10 Million

Certifications: 10x Multi-Platinum | January 5, 2000

Singles released: 4

Winner: Backstreet Boys

Round two: second albums


Released: May 18, 1999

Certified Units: 13 Million

Certifications: 13x Multi-Platinum | February 7, 2001

Singles released: 4

No Strings Attached

Released: March 21, 2000

Certified Units: 11 Million

Certifications: 11x Multi-Platinum | May 10, 2001

Singles released: 4


Yes, we have to acknowledge that No Strings Attached sold over 2.4 million units in its first week in the United States, and this was a huge success over the previous record that Millennium had set of 1.13 million units in the first week. This is a fact that has been lorded by NSYNC fans (and quite rightfully so), but it is far from the only factor here. Millennium went on to outweigh No Strings Attached in final record sales in the US which is quite definitive enough, but I am going to sneak in here and add this:

Millennium worldwide sales: approx. 40 Million

No Strings Attached worldwide sales: approx. 13 Million

Can't deny those numbers.

Winner: Backstreet Boys

Round three: third albums

Black & Blue

Released: November 21, 2000

Certified Units: 8 Million

Certifications: 8x Multi-Platinum | December 18, 2000

Singles released: 3 (or 4, with the later released Drowning)


Released: July 24, 2001

Certified Units: 5 Million

Certifications: 5x Multi-Platinum | August 22, 2001

Singles released: 3

Winner: Backstreet Boys

Final numbers:

Backstreet Boys: Certified Units: 37 Million

NSYNC: Certified Units: 28 Million

Let's leave it at that, my friends, and not get into overdone arguments. Yes, Justin Timberlake is very successful, but he is not NSYNC. Yes, Backstreet Boys aren't hitting the radio with their new material but they're doing what they love and getting rich doing it. I ain't sayin' that you can't love NSYNC's music more, I'm just the number guy!

Now, a quick poll to see who's been paying attention:

  1. Who is definitively the best boyband?

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