Before there was Team Jacob vs Team Edward, Team Paris vs Team Nicole, Team Conan vs Team Leno, and Team Selena vs Team Justin, there was one rivalry that took the hearts of everyone between the ages of 9 – 25 and started the rebirth of the pop music in the late 90s. They were constant featured on MTV (when they still had music on there) and breaking the hearts of the millions of girls. The Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC ruled the airwaves and all the country as they battled for the title of best boy band. While they never officially stated that there was a rivalry, there was always tension between the two fans. While the backstreet Boys has been named one of the best-selling boy band of all time, the question remains who exactly was the best boy band of the 90s and 00s?
Backstreet boys released their self-titled début album in August 1997, here in America. This album was released before as 2 albums internationally (Backstreet Boys in May 1996 and Backstreet’s Back also in August 1997). The album sparked six hit single on the Billboard Hot 100 charts.
It wasn’t until March 1998 when *NSYNC also released their self-titled début album (May 1997 in Germany),which had four hit single on the Hot 100 charts. Both albums did well on the charts with the albums peaking to number four and number two respectively. *NSYNC sold about 10,750,000 worldwide and Backstreet Boys sold 26,210,334 worldwide (all three albums)
Verdict: Backstreet Boys. While technically their first two albums released internationally before the actually début in America, both albums make up the US album, which is a compilation album but that’s a different story for a different day. Backstreet Boy’s still had two Hot 100 hits than *NSYNC as well.
It’s wasn’t until their second album, and being on the same label, that their careers took off and the competition started to really heat up. Backstreet Boys’ “Millennium” album was released in the May 1999. Millennium spawned 4 hit singles (including the mega hit “I Want It That Way”) on the Hot 100 and was number one Billboard’s End-year chart for 1999. *NSYNC released “No String Attached” in March 2000. “No Strings Attached” had three hit singles on the Hot 100 and like Backstreet’s “Millennium”, it was number one on Billboard’s End-year chart for 2000. “No Strings Attached” sold 12,449,301 worldwide while “Millennium” sold 30,000,000 worldwide
Verdict: Backstreet Boys again. While both album are highly considered to be the best pop albums released in their respective decades, *NSYNC sold 17,550,699 less than the Backstreet Boys did.
With the success of “Millennium” and “No Strings Attached”, Backstreet and *NSYNC’s third albums was highly anticipated had critics and others wondering if they could capitalize on their second albums success. With that thought in mind, Backstreet Boy’s released “Black & Blue” in November 2000. The album three singles weren’t as successful as “Millennium” singles, only one placed in the top 10, but they were still managed to make the Billboard Hot 100 charts. In July 2001, *NSYNC released “Celebrity” album. “Celebrity” came out eight months after Backstreet’s album. *NSYNC’s singles charted better than their rivals with all three singles placing in the top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The album itself sold 5,457,203 worldwide and “Black & Blue” sold 24,000,000.
Verdict: While this shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, Backstreet Boys. While most fans didn’t like “Black & Blue”, it still managed to outsell “Celebrity”.
Sadly, both *NSYNC and Backstreet Boys took a hiatus after the release of their third albums. *NSYNC never came back together and even Lance Bass stated that the band was over due to Justin Timberlake’s successful solo career. Backstreet Boys returned and released one more album as a Quintet before becoming a quartet when Kevin Richardson left in 2006 in order to “purse other interest” and releasing four more albums (including one where they formed a super group with legendary boy band New Kids on the Block). Kevin returned in 2012 and the band was recently blessed with a star on the hollywood walk of fame and are getting ready to celebrate their 20th anniversary.
If it was just based off of record sales in America, *NSYNC would have won with them selling 26,000,000 albums and Backstreet Boys selling 18,642,300 albums. The downfall of *NSYNC was the fact that were never able to capture the international market like Backstreet did. This might have been because Backstreet Boys’ released two albums internationally before they released their album in the states while still releasing singles in the states. Here’s a lovely info graphic that will break it down even better!
Who do you think is the better boyband: *NSYNC or Backstreet Boys? Leave your thoughts in a comment below
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