American retailer Target has refused to sell Beyonce’s surprise-release 5th album.
The musician’s eponymous “Beyonce” album was released at midnight on Friday, Dec. 13, exclusively on iTunes, and that move has apparently irked Target.
In a statement, Target explained why it was not carrying the new album:
“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 a physical format at the same time as all other formats.”
Can Erbil, an economics professor at Boston College, said Target is “upset and maybe a little jealous” about the market power of iTunes as the initial exclusive distributor of Beyonce’s album.
“Companies are competing to capture the consumers with the highest willingness to pay along with the ones who cannot wait even a day, and have to have the album as soon as it is out,” he said. “These ‘premium customers’ are captured by iTunes now.”
Target may or may not be right about the air already being squeezed out of the “Beyonce” balloon. On Monday, Apple, which owns iTunes, said that the album was the fastest-selling album ever in the iTunes store worldwide, with 828,773 albums sold in its first three days. The album also broke the U.S. first-week album sales record, with 617,213 sold, reaching No. 1 in 104 countries.