So remember when Beyonce dropped a new album last Friday on iTunes without telling anyone about it beforehand? Bold move, terrific album, and, apparently, a gamble that paid off: It sold 617,000 copies in the US in three days and 828.773 worldwide, officially making it both the largest single week ever in the US iTunes Store and the fastest-selling album worldwide in the iTunes Store. It’ll be available exclusively on iTunes through December 18; brick-and-mortar retailers who will be carrying the album will get it by Friday, December 20—a week after it first dropped online.
Except that there’s one store on whose shelves it WON’T be showing up: Target.
In a statement to Billboard, Target spokesperson Erica Julkowski commented, “At this time, Target will not be carrying Beyonce’s new self-titled album Beyonce.” Why? She explained it as follows:
“At Target we focus on offering our guests a wide assortment of physical CDs, and when a new album is available digitally before it is available physically, it impacts demand and sales projections. While there are many aspects that contribute to our approach and we have appreciated partnering with Beyonce in the past, we are primarily focused on offering CDs that will be available in physical format at the same time as all other formats.”
…Which really just sounds like someone’s feelings got hurt that mean ol’ Beyonce didn’t include them in her super secret plans this time round. I’m sorry, are we five years old? Because that is the silliest thing that I’ve ever heard.
Maybe it’s just that I don’t have a solid grasp of how record sales work, but I mean, come ON—even WALMART will be carrying it (albeit the non-explicit version only), and although I’m not exactly feeling charitable towards Walmart at the moment due to how the company treats its workers, at least they’re not running off in the corner to pout. Add to that the fact that digital albums are really where it’s at these days, and, well… it just kind of makes Target look like sore losers.
To be honest, I can’t actually remember the last time I bought a physical album, and I’m sure I’m not alone here. For me, the reasoning has to do with the fact that being able to grab an album off the interwebs means that I don’t have to haul myself down to the nearest store to get new music—something which takes a lot more time, now that I’ve relocated back to the ‘burbs after a decade in the city. And while, yes, I sort of miss being able to peruse the liner notes after slipping a fresh disc into my CD player (well, laptop these days), it’s more than likely that record sales will continue to shift more towards the digital than the physical. Is it a shame? A little bit, but it’s also going to allow more people greater access to more music, and when it comes to art, that’s a good a thing. Everyone deserves to be able to rock out every now and again, right?
But maybe that’s just me. What do you think? Is Target being silly, or are they making a valid point? Tell us in the comments!
Lucia Peters is BettyConfidential’s senior editor.