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In the Zone is the fourth studio album by Americanmarker singer Britney Spears, released worldwide on November 18, 2003, through Jive Records and two days later in the United States. The album became the top-selling album in the USA after 609,000 copies of the set were purchased in one week, according to industry figures to the Nielsen SoundScan. In the Zone debuted at number-one on the Billboard 200 albums chart, Spears became the first female in Nielsen SoundScan history to have four number-one albums in a row. Spears co-wrote 8 of the 12 songs on the album and one of the bonus songs. In the Zone had more success with singles than its predecessor on the USAmarker Billboard Hot 100; "Toxic" and "Everytime" both reached top 20, "Me against the Music" reached top 40 and "Outrageous" reached top 80 without an official music video being released.


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One of her producers, P. Diddy, spoke to MTV News about a song he was working on with Spears, but at the time it had no title "The Answer." "I was very impressed with P. Diddy," Spears said. "He's very family-man-oriented, he brought his kids in. His studio and the people he works with, the people he does tracks with, are, like, amazing. He's a cool guy."

Spears also had high praise for Moby, who worked with her on the mid-tempo "Early Morning." "He's such a pure-hearted guy," she said. "He's so cool. He just played me a really cool track, and I thought it was brilliant. I just came up with stuff to go over it, and I hope he likes it. I don't know if he's heard it yet, but I like it. It's one of my favorite tracks on the record."

The track is a day-after hangover song, balancing other party-hard tunes that might make the album. "Some songs are just written generally about going out and wanting to have a good time," she said. "I was writing about a lot of stuff in general — going out with my girlfriends, everyday experiences I was going through. "Like, 'Early Morning' is basically talking about just going out and feeling bad the next day, and 'Touch of My Hand' is about, you know, touch of my hand," she continued. "You'll have to hear the song and get your own interpretation of what you think it's about. Other songs are just very sensual, very sensual songs."

Diddy declined to give song titles, since the tracks aren't finished and the album isn't due until November. While other producers who have worked with the singer, including the Matrix and Fred Durst, have described Britney's new material as having a trip-hop vibe reminiscent of Madonna's "Ray of Light". Besides ballads, dance tracks and Middle Eastern rhythms, Spears also raps on one track, "Brave New Girl." "I think she's giving you a lot to work with," Diddy said. "She's broke out of that just pop [style], just being a pop artist. She's being a trendsetter. She has many styles. You don't know how she's going to come and hit you next."

Diddy said he came out of the sessions with a newfound respect for Spears and found that she had taught him a thing or two as well."As a performer, as an artist, as a songwriter, she ain't no slouch," he said. "It was great working with her. She was real quick, real quick. I wouldn't go into the studio with nothing that wouldn't motivate me. The way she did it her way, that motivated me to get with her and give her a bit of my flavor mixed with hers, to get her to do something combustionable.

Song writer Cathy Dennis approached Spears with a song called "Sweet Dreams My L.A. Ex" that implied to be an answer to Justin Timberlake's second single "Cry Me A River" after the media hype that the song was about Timberlake and Spears' break up, however, Spears declined to accept the song, but was later offered to Rachel Stevens for her debut solo album and eventually released as her first single.

The album's name originated from a constantly used phrase from the lead single "Me Against The Music", the phrase being "I want to get in the zone." The album's original title was Get in the Zone, and was later shorten to In the Zone.

Critical reception

Initial critical response to In the Zone was generally favorable. According to Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album has received a score of 66, based on 13 reviews.

The album spawned the international number one and U.S. top ten hit single, "Toxic", which won Spears her first Grammy in the category of Best Dance Recording.

The album had a mixed critical reception, although the positive notices were stronger on this outing.
  • Stylus Magazine gave the album a D and even blamed her career choices saying, "Ultimately, In the Zone suffers greatly from Britney's uneasy transition from teen tart to sexually powerful woman. Had Britney been in charge of her career direction instead of mercilessly prostituted by her management, she might have been able to produce something with some semblance of musical vision."
  • The Guardian praised the album's melodies and her effort giving it 4 out of 5 stars and writing, "Unlike previous Britney albums, In the Zone has no filler and no shoddy cover versions, just 57 varieties of blue-chip hit-factory pop. There is southern hip-hop, deep house, Neptunes-style R&B, the ubiquitous Diwali beat and, most importantly, oodles of Madonna."
  • The album currently has a 4.5/5 rating on iTunes based on over 270 reviews.


In The Zone debuted at number-one in the United States moving over 609,000 units in its first week- while impressive, it fell short of the 746,000 copies sold by her previous release Britney. In the Zone is the fifth-strongest debut of 2003, behind "The Diary of Alicia Keys", with more than 618,000 copies sold; "American Idol" runner-up Clay Aiken's "Measure of a Man", selling almost 613,000 units; Linkin Park’s "Meteora", with more than 810,000 copies sold; and 50 Cent, with 872,000 in sales. In the Zone fell 1-3, its second week sales dipped 59% to 251,000 copies, giving the album a total of 860,000. In its third week on the tally it fell 3-7. Although sales were down 40% to 150,000 copies, it was enough to bring Spears' total to just above the 1 million mark. On its fourth week, the album have a steady sales of 205,000 copies pushed the title up three positions to bring it back into the top-ten. On its fifth week, In the Zone drops from number-seven to round out the top-ten, although sales were up about 5% to 158,000 copies giving the album 1.15 million units, and sits to number thirteen on the Billboard 200, giving the album above 1.38 million copies increase in sales. Week after, the album is falling out of the top-ten, the set is up 11-10 the weeks on a 16% sales hike to 61,000 copies, giving the album a total of 1.8 million copies sold. With the help of her Onyx Hotel Tour and with the release of her second single "Toxic" In the Zone scoots 10-6 on a 3.3% sales burst to 63,000 copies. As of July 2009, the album had sold 3,000,000 copies in the United Statesmarker according to Nielsen SoundScan it has been certified 2× Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.

Additionally, In The Zone also debuted at number-one in Francemarker, Koreamarker, Mexicomarker and Argentinamarker, and it had top-ten debuts in Germanymarker, Canadamarker, Australia, Denmarkmarker, Japanmarker, Austriamarker, Hollandmarker, Switzerlandmarker and Irelandmarker. In Canadamarker it debuted at number two and it has been certified 3× Platinum denoting 300,000 units shipped to retailers. In Japanmarker In the Zone debuted at number three selling 59,128 copies, earning Platinum certification it has sold 250,000.

In April 2004, In The Zone was certified Platinum by the IFPI for shipments of one million copies inside Europe. The album debuted at number fourteen in the United Kingdom, but later re-entered the top 15 and peaked at number thirteen. The album has been certified platinum, denoting 300,000 shipments to retailers. In France and Germany the album reached number one, and was certified double gold by the Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique and gold by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, denoting shipments to retailers 200,000 copies and 250,000 respectively.


Three months before the release of In the Zone, Spears' appeared at the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards, and got off to a surprising start when Spears' opened the show with a tribute to Madonna. In honor of MTV's 20th annual event, the pop singer sang "Like A Virgin" in white wedding dresses similar to what Madonna wore on the inaugural show in 1984. She, along with Christina Aguilera danced and gyrated and rolled on the floor, just like Madonna did. They were later joined by Madonna herself. And then startled the audience when Madonna open-mouth kissed with Spears and Aguilera.

Worldwide appearance

On September 6, 2003 she performed at the "Top of the Pops Saturday" in the UK. She went to Seoulmarker, South Koreamarker prior to her press conference in to promote "In The Zone", she briefly posed for the cameras wearing a pink Hanbok. It was the first time in South Korea for Spears, who next went on to Japan. While in Seoul, she did not hold a concert, but she will perform several songs for reporters. On December 12, Spears' held a press conference in Japanmarker which was held at the Tokyo Hotel to promoted the album. Spears arrived on December 13 in Tokyomarker FM radio network for best pop-Cosmo 10 and decided to live performers, and was a live broadcast and was published in Spain slope Shibuya studio. In Japanmarker, she performed her songs "Breathe on Me","Toxic", "Me Against the Music", and " Boom Boom" at the MTV Japan entitled "MTV Cool Christmas 2003" on December 14, 2003. In Denmarkmarker, she visited a show called "Boogie" on November 5, where she promoted the album there. In the UKmarker, she appeared on a comedy talk-show "V Graham Norton" on November 14, where she talk about her kiss with Madonna and also her album. Also on November 16, two day before the release of In the Zone she had an interview on a British show program "Popworld", and was interviewed by Simon Amstell in which she talks about "speed dating" and of course her album. In Australia, she was interviewed there by Richard Carleton on the show "60 Minutes" that was broadcast on November 23.

Spears heavily promoted the album in the European countries where she did several interviews and performances there. In Finlandmarker, she did an episode of the documentary show "4Pop" that was entitled "Suomi-filmin parhaat mokat" on February 1. In Londonmarker, UK she performed her huge hit "Toxic" and "Me Against The Music" at the "GMTV" on February 26. In the UK, again she performed at the "Top of the Pops Saturday" on February 28. At the UK, she did an interview in the show "Can You Pull...?" on August 24. On October 2, she performed "I Got That Boom Boom" at the "CD:UK". In the all new season of the "Top of the Pops", she performed "Toxic" and "Everytime" there and was originally broadcast on February 6, and December 25, 2004.

In Brazilmarker, Spears had set her first international performance date of 2004 with a June 5 stop at Portugalmarker's Rock in Rio-Lisbon festival. Confirmed by organizers, the Rock in Rio performance is Spears' was the only international booking, but will be part of a bigger itinerary. On January 24, Spears' presented Madonna with a career achievement award at Francemarker's biggest music awards, hosted by European radio group NRJ. She also performed her second single from the album"Toxic".

Live performances

On September 4, 2003, Spears' debuted her first single of the album "Me Against The Music" at the NFL Kickoff live from The National Mallmarker in Washington D.C.marker. Spears also performed her past hit singles "...Baby One More Time" and "I'm A Slave 4 U" at the NFL Kickoff. Spears' stunned the crowd gathered at the Palm Springs Hotel and casino in Las Vegasmarker when she took to the stage at the hotel's Rain nightclub for a surprise mini-concert early on September 14 at about 1 a.m. Spears and her dancers put in a 30 minute performance, and an MTV camera crew was on hand to tape the event. Spears sang three songs from In The Zone for the roughly 1,800 people in the club. On September 29, Spears was announced to be a musical guest on the 29th season of NBC's Saturday Night Live. It was her first time not being tapped to host the show along with a musical performance.

On October 10, 2003 she appeared on a TV show Extra where she. On October 11, she performed "Me Against The Music" and "I Got That Boom Boom" on the "Total Request Live" which also featured the main cover of In The Zone. On October 18, she became a musical guest on the TV show Saturday Night Live together with Halle Berry.

Spears' again appeared live on many TV appearances including Primetime Live on November 13 with Diane Sawyer, Jimmy Kimmel Live on November 13, MTV's In The Zone & Out All Night on November 15, the American Music Awards on November 16, the Tonight Show With Jay Leno on November 17, MTV's TRL on November 18, and Live With Regis And Kelly on November 24. She also performed her single "Me Against the Music at the 31st American Music Awards." ABC took the opportunity to promote the album on its Monday night special, entitled "Britney Spears: In the Zone" which was shot in New York's Gotham Hall in October, the show featured stage settings evoking "Cabaret," and Spears is taking the New York theater motif even further with the Onyx Hotel tour. According to a source close to the production, this tour is "less Vegas" than previous productions, with no stage extended into the audience. On December 30, she again appeared on the show "Jimmy Kimmel Live". On January 24, 2004 she was broadcast on the show "Tinseltown TV". On February 11, she performed "Toxic" on the show "On Air With Ryan Seacrest", where she also did an interview with Ryan Seacrest. Day after that, also had performance of her hit single "Toxic" in the Ellen DeGeneres Show" in which she promoted the album.


The Onyx Hotel Tour kicked off March 2, 2004, and continued through the spring and summer with 75 stops in major U.S.marker, European and Asian cities. The "Britney Spears Live From Miami" concert was aired on showtime on March 28 at 9 p.m. ET. The trek's "Onyx Hotel" resembles Tommy Tune's Broadway musical "Grand Hotel," which portrayed a day in the life of the Berlin Grand Hotel in 1928. Spears has been decked out in 1920s/1930s hairstyles in promotional pictures for the tour and her Showtime concert special, which airs live from the Miami tour stop on March 28 at 9 p.m. ET (tape-delayed on the West Coast). Spears was taken the role of hostess of the Onyx Hotel, with her dancers becoming the hotel staffers and audience members finding themselves to be the invited guests.



  • "Me Against the Music" became the first single from "In the Zone," when Britney appeared with Madonna at the MTV VMAs and asked her to appear on the track. Co-written by Britney with production team, RedZone, "Me Against the Music" reached #1 in Australia and became Britney's biggest hit since "I'm a Slave 4 U" in the U.S., reaching No. 35 in the Billboard Hot 100, hit No. 2 in the UK Singles Charts, and went straight into the top 5 in many European countries.
  • "Toxic" was produced by Swedish duo, Bloodshy & Avant, British songwriter, Cathy Dennis, co-wrote the infectious electropop-influenced second single. The track, complete with a fitting futuristic video, directed by Joseph Kahn, sold over 105,000 copies in the UK in its first week alone, as well as being huge in Europe. "Toxic" became Britney's biggest hit worldwide since "Oops!... I Did It Again," worldwide, hitting #1 yet again in Australia and going to No. 9 on the USA Hot 100, and giving Britney her fourth U.K. No. 1 single. The song won the Grammy award for Best Dance Recording, becoming Spears' first Grammy win.
  • "Everytime", the third single from "In the Zone," showcased Britney at her most mature; a haunting piano-led ballad, with introspective, personal lyrics, written by Britney & produced by Guy Sigsworth, one half of Frou Frou. The song gave Britney her fifth No. 1 in Australia and the UK, released shortly after her sold-out The Onyx Hotel Tour, which hit Europe in May, and reached No. 15 on the USA Hot 100 (and reached No. 7 on the USA download chart), selling steadily and propelling sales of "In the Zone" worldwide.
  • "Outrageous" — written and produced by R. Kelly — it was contracted to be a single, so, Britney, having won the battles for the first and second singles, agreed that it would be the fourth single. Unfortunately, whilst shooting the video, she injured her knee on set, leaving the video incomplete. The track was still released in certain territories — it was a radio-only single in North America and Europe, charting at #79 in the USA, and was also released in Japan, with a commercial single, backed with remixes from the likes of Junkie XL, Josh Harris and R. Kelly himself.

Notable songs

  • "Breathe on Me", was set to have a worldwide release as In the Zone`s fifth single. The plans were scrapped due to Spears' knee injury during the filming for the music video of "Outrageous". Still, the song did have a minor release in 2004. It had a radio release in countries such as the USA, Canada, Italy, Switzerland, Philippines, Great Britain and Ireland. Also, in America, a 12" vinyl including remixes was released. The song was performed on every tour since it's been released, including The Onyx Hotel Tour, M+M's Promo Tour and The Circus Starring Britney Spears. It is an electronica-styled song with lyrics metaphorically talking about sex.
  • "(I Got That) Boom Boom" produced by Roy "Royalty" Hamilton was set as the album's second single, but Spears pushed for "Toxic" and eventually won. The song was then set to be released as the sixth single, but all plans were scrapped. This is the first time Spears features a rapper on a song - Ying Yang Twins. "(I Got That) Boom Boom" was never released as a single, though it is to be noted that the song was played on several radio stations, predominantly on the USA East Coast. It is an urban pop/southern hip-hop song.

Track listing

# Title Writers Producer Time
1. "Me Against the Music" (featuring Madonna) Spears, Madonna, Christopher Stewart, Nikhereanye, Penelope Magnet, Terius Nash, O'Brien Christopher "Tricky" Stewart & Penelope Magnet 3:44
2. "(I Got That) Boom Boom" (featuring Ying Yang Twins) Roy "Royalty" Hamilton, Royal, Holmes, Jackson Roy "Royalty" Hamilton 4:51
3. "Showdown" Spears, Cathy Dennis, Bloodshy & Avant, Jonback Bloodshy & Avant 3:17
4. "Breathe on Me" Lee, Anderson, Greene Mark "Metro" Taylor 3:43
5. "Early Mornin'" Spears, Moby, Christopher Stewart, Magnet Moby 3:45
6. "Toxic" Cathy Dennis, Bloodshy & Avant, Jonback Bloodshy & Avant 3:21
7. "Outrageous" R. Kelly R. Kelly 3:21
8. "Touch of My Hand" Spears, Harry, B. Muhammad, Soloman Jimmy Harry & Shep Soloman 4:19
9. "The Hook Up" Spears, Christopher Stewart, Nikhereanye, Magnet Christopher "Tricky" Stewart & Penelope Magnet 3:54
10. "Shadow" Spears, Lauren Christy, Scott Spock, Graham Edwards, Charlie Midnight The Matrix 3:45
11. "Brave New Girl" Spears, Brian Kierulf, Josh Schwartz, Kara DioGuardi Kierulf & Schwartz 3:30
12. "Everytime" Spears, Annette Artani Guy Sigsworth & Britney Spears 3:53

Bonus tracks

# Title Writers Producer Time
13. "Me Against the Music" (Rishi Rich's Desi Kulcha Remix) (featuring Madonna) Spears, Madonna, Stewart, Nikhereanye, Magnet, Nash, O'Brien Christopher "Tricky" Stewart & Penelope Magnet 4:33
14. "The Answer" (Europe, Japan, Australia & Latin America) Sean Combs, Ryan Leslie Sean "Diddy" Combs 3:54
15. "Don't Hang Up" (UK, Japan, Italy, Australia & Selected Latin American Areas) Spears, Joshua M Schwartz, Brian Kierulf Kierulf & Schwartz 4:02

DualDisc bonus videos

# Title Director Time
17. "Me Against the Music" (featuring Madonna) (Music Video) Paul Hunter 4:20
18. "Toxic" (Music Video) Joseph Kahn 3:30
19. "Everytime" (Music Video) David LaChapelle 4:10
20. "Chris Cox Megamix" (Music Video) Various directors 3:47


Chart (2003) Peak
Australian ARIA Albums Chart 10
Austrian Albums Chart 10
Belgian Flemish Albums Chart 7
Belgian Walloon Albums Chart 5
Canadian Albums Chart 2
Dutch Albums Chart 9
European Top 100 Albums Chart 1
French SNEP Albums Chart 1
Finnish Albums Chart 15

Chart (2003) Peak
German Albums Chart 1
Hungarian Albums Chart 7
Japanese Oricon Albums Chart 3
New Zealand RIANZ Albums Chart 25
Norwegian Albums Chart 11
Swedish Albums Chart 8
Swiss Albums Chart 6
UK Albums Chart 13
U.S. Billboard 200 1


Country Providers Certification Sales or
Argentina CAPIF Platinum 40,000
Australia ARIA Platinum 70,000
Austria IFPI Platinum 20,000
Brazil ABPD Gold 100,000
Canada CRIA 3× Platinum 300,000
Europe IFPI Platinum 1,000,000
Finland IFPI Gold 15,052
France SNEP 2× Gold 200,000
Germany IFPI Gold 250,000
Hungary Mahasz Gold 7,500

Country Providers Certification Sales or
Japan RIAJ Platinum 250,000
Mexico AMPROFON Platinum 150,000
New Zealand RIANZ Gold 7,500
Norway IFPI Gold 15,000
Russia 2× Platinum 40,000
Sweden IFPI Gold 30,000
Switzerland IFPI Gold 25,000
United Kingdom BPI Platinum 300,000
United States RIAA 2× Platinum 3,005,000
World WRD - 7 million

Chart procession and succession


Awards ceremony Award
Brasil Music Award Best International Female Artist
Holland TMF Awards Gridlock Award
MTV Europe Music Awards Best Female Artist of the Year
TRL Awards Gridlock Award
Groovevolt Awards Best Female Album
47th Grammy Awards Best Dance Recording (Toxic)


  • Vocals: Britney Spears
  • Orchestra: Algozee, Tumbi
  • Keyboards: Steve Anderson, DaCorna Boyz, Kendall D. Nesbitt
  • Multi-instruments: Avant Arranger, Bloodshy, Moby
  • Background vocals: Britney Spears, B.U.D., Blackcell, Courtney Copeland, Kara Dioguardi, Roxanne Estrada, Emma Holmgren, Jennifer Karr, R. Kelly, Kyron Leslie, Penelope Magnet, Matrix, Emma Roads, Chyna Royal, Wizardz of Oz, Ying Yang Twins
  • Banjo, Guitar: Roy Gartrell
  • Background vocals, Multi-instruments: Roy "Royalty" Hamilton, Chris "Tricky" Stewart
  • Guitar, Keyboards: Jimmy Harry, Brian Kierulf
  • Guitar: Henrik Jonback, Donnie Lyle, Josh Schwartz
  • Bass: Thomas Lindberg

Production personnel

  • Producers: Britney Spears, Avant, Bloodshy, Jimmy Harry, R. Kelly, Brian Kierulf, Steve Lunt, Penelope Magnet, Matrix, Moby, Josh Schwartz, Guy Sigsworth, Shepard Soloman, Mark Taylor, Trixster, Diddy
  • Production Coordination: Vanessa Letocq
  • Engineers: Avant, Bloodshy, Chris Fudurich, Andy Gallas, Abel Garibaldi, Brad Gilderman, Brian Kierulf, Sean Magee, Matrix, Sean McGhee, Ian Mereness, Moby, Pablo Munguia, Josh Schwartz, Mark "Spike" Stent, Rich Tapper, Mark Taylor, Brian "B Luv" Thomas
  • Assistant Engineers: J.D. Andrew, Steve Bearsley, Tom Bender, Blackcell, Josh Copp, Cathy Dennis, Matt Furnidge, Rob Haggert, Vance Hornbuckle, Charles McCrorey, Jason Mlodzinski, Andrew Nast, Jonas Ostman, Jason Rankins, Tim Roberts, Rich Tapper, David Treahearn, Seth Waldmann, Nathan Wheeler, Jong Uk Yoon, Antony Zeller
  • Digital Editing: Avant, Bloodshy, John Hanes, Brian "B Luv" Thomas, Paul PDub Walton, Dan Yashiz
  • Mixdown Producer: Serban Ghenea
  • Mixing: Niklas Flyckt, Mick Guzauski, R. Kelly, Matrix, Sean McGhee, Mark "Spike" Stent, Mark Taylor
  • Remixing: Rishi Rich
  • Editing: Sean McGhee

  • Programming: Steve Anderson, Avant, Bloodshy, Abel Garibaldi, Jimmy Harry, Brian Kierulf, Ian Mereness, Moby, Chris "Tricky" Stewart
  • Mastering: Tom Coyne
  • Arrangers: Avant, Bloodshy, Roy "Royalty" Hamilton, Jimmy Harry, Steve Lunt, Penelope Magnet, Chris "Tricky" Stewart
  • String Arrangements: Ed Alton, Janson & Janson
  • Instrumentation: Guy Sigsworth
  • Conductor: Janson & Janson
  • Pro-Tools: Dug Hanes, John Hanes
  • Vocal Producers: Penelope Magnet, Trixster
  • Vocal Engineers: Brian Kierulf, Mark "Spike" Stent, Brian "B Luv" Thomas, Mike Tucker
  • Vocal Editing: Brian Kierulf, Mike Tucker
  • Vocal Arrangement: Penelope Magnet, Trixster
  • Design: Jackie Murphy
  • Photography: Patrick Demarchelier, Ranjit
  • Stylists: Ray Brown, Lori Goldstein, Mary Alice Stephenson
  • Hair Stylists: Laurentius, Stephanie Louise, Oribe
  • Make-Up: Fran Cooper, Isabel, Armannii, Stephanie Louise


  1. RIAA certification searchable database - "Britney Spears"
  2. Japanese Sales Oricon.
  3. Swiss certification:
  4. [1]

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