Backstreet boom

Boys' 'Millennium' sells record setting 1.3 mil copies

The Backstreet Boys’ “Millennium” was the nation’s bestselling album last week with more than 1.13 million copies of the group’s sophomore disc going home with fans, according to sales data released Wednesday.

The Jive Records disc logged the industry’s best first-week tally, topping the 1.08 million record set in November by Garth Brooks’ “Double Live” disc.

But the Backstreet Boys’ accomplishment is particularly noteworthy as it came during the May sales doldrums, when album buyers typically stay out of stores until school is out.

By comparison, Brooks’ disc bowed during the height of the Christmas sales season.

The “Millennium” tally helped lift Jive parent BMG into second place in album market share among the Big Five music congloms, for the period ended May 23.

Big week for BMG

BMG, which owned three of the top four albums, nabbed a 17.14% share and leaped ahead of Sony’s 16%, which was helped by strong sales for Ricky Martin’s latest. Titan Universal led with 26.39%, Warner and EMI had 14.9% and 9.57%, respectively.

“We’ve done some really great marketing, but the band deserves the credit for delivering an excellent album and having a tremendous work ethic,” Jive prexy Barry Weiss told Daily Variety. “Our pledge from the beginning of setting this album up was to make sure we used every opportunity to communicate directly with the fans. And they responded.”

MTV also played a large role in putting the band over the now-familiar superstar bow of 600,000 copies with a plethora of special programs, all frequently rerun.

Fan frenzy

Ten thousand fans flooded Times Square when the Boys appeared at MTV’s Gotham studios, and the cabler will have a big presence touting the group’s world tour, which heads Stateside in the fall.

“Millennium” pushed last week’s chart-topper Martin to No. 2 with sales of nearly 460,000, an impressive tally even though it represented a 200,000-copy falloff for the C2/Columbia Records disc.

Britney Spears’ “Baby One More Time” was also helped by the Boys-related hysteria as fans presumably picked up copies of her disc while at the store to get “Millennium.”

Her Jive Records disc sold 37,000 more copies and went up three places to No. 3, topping 3 million copies in its 19th week of release.

LaFace/Arista Records act TLC slid a slot to No. 4 with “FanMail” falling about 9,000 copies.

But it managed to hold off the latest “Star Wars” saga soundtrack, which checked in with nearly 115,000 copies. The Sony Classics disc benefited from the pic’s big opening weekend.

Snoop Dogg’s No Limit/Priority CD “No Limit Top Dogg” slid five rungs to No. 7, selling 87,000 units less than its debut week.

Jimmy Buffett’s latest, “Beach House on the Moon,” logged a first week tally of almost 100,000 copies.

The Margaritaville/Island Records disc comes as parrotheads are preparing to head to the nation’s amphitheaters to pay homage to Buffett.