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Justin Timberlake returns with ‘Man of the Woods’ – but file sharers beat the release by two days

Justin Timberlake's new album "Man of the Woods". TECXIPIO infographic about file sharing statistics for JT's music. The new album leaked two days ahead of the official schedule.

Nearly five years since his last album dropped, U.S. singer-songwriter Justin Timberlake finally delivered new music: His fifth studio album, “Man of the Woods”, was officially released on February 2, 2018, only two days before his halftime performance at Super Bowl LII. The 16-song LP includes titles that fall into various genres, like the electrofunk/R&B lead single “Filthy” and the country-rock single “Say Something” featuring country singer Chris Stapleton.

Billboard put out a poll that allowed readers to vote for their favorite tracks off of Justin Timberlake’s latest offering, and they chose “Say Something” as one of the most-loved songs, though “Morning Light”, a track featuring fellow late-90s pop artist Alicia Keys, got the most love.

As the TECXIPIO leak alerts already reported, Justin Timberlake’s “Man of the Woods” leaked two days before its official release. Four torrent files containing his new music were downloaded and shared on that day. The following day, five more files of “Man of the Woods” danced around P2P networks, and the number of P2P users doubled to 28,000. File sharing activity finally peaked on February 2, 2018 – the official release date of the 16-song album – with 35,400 P2P users, who downloaded and shared his music. That said, this number doesn't seem to be very high in comparison with highfliers like 2017's top music artists Ed Sheeran or Drake, who activated 131,000 and 174,000 P2P users on the day of their last album releases, respectively.



More than any other country worldwide, P2P users in the United States were eagerly awaiting Justin Timberlake’s new album. As a result, the U.S. earned the top spot among JT’s fans in P2P networks. The United Kingdom, India, Canada and Russia followed in spots 2-5, respectively. However, a look at the city level reveals more areas of high demand for his music.

Although South Africa only claimed spot 8 at the country level, two of its cities drew some of the highest numbers of fans at the city level! Spot 2 was claimed by Johannesburg, followed by Cape Town in spot 3, though the top spot goes to South Korea’s capital of Seoul.

TECXIPIO infographic. Justin Timberlake's new album 'Man of the Woods' leaked on Januar 31, 2018, and was officially released on February 2, 2018. The chart shows the number of daily file sharers downloading and sharing JT's music since the beginning of 2018.

But besides the file sharing news, what did critics have to say about Justin Timberlake’s “Man of the Woods?”



Most reviews analyzing Justin Timberlake’s “Man of the Woods” seem to agree on a rather average score. While some concede that the album has some catchy tracks, others describe it as “limp” or “adrift.”

"Man of the Woods, while certainly not 2018’s worst album, is further evidence that Timberlake is far from the pop music innovator he once was." USA Today reported on February 2, 2018.*

"Who is asking for this state of affairs to continue? Not Mr. Timberlake, who on his sometimes convincing, sometimes limp new album “Man of the Woods” [...]" The New York Times recapped JT's new album.**

"Too often, Timberlake sounds adrift. “Wave” never finds its center amid choppy, Caribbean rhythms and wayward whistling. “Morning Light” creates an intriguingly dusky atmosphere, but never finds a distinct direction. For an artist who once rode the pop culture wave by making everything seem so easy, Timberlake turns “Man of the Woods” into a struggle." The Chicago Tribune reported on on February 2, 2018.***

Yet despite these lackluster reviews from huge online magazines, fans generally seem to love Justin Timberlake’s songs of the new album. All you have to do is browse through Billboard’s or Popcrush’s articles that collected praise from fans’ Twitter feeds on the official release day.

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Definition: Number of file sharers: How many peers shared and downloaded at least one file of Justin Timberlake within a certain period?

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Companies of the media- and entertainment industry leverage file sharing data to enhance conventional audience measurement systems.

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