After Beyoncé shocked the world by announcing her new self-titled album would be exclusive to iTunes, it was pretty much a given that Apple’s music distribution service would reap the benefits of her earth-shattering popularity. Lo and behold, less than a week later, reports are coming in that the album topped the charts around the world.

A post on Bloomberg reports that Beyoncé—an album made up of 14 songs and 17 music videos—managed to become a top-seller “in the 10 biggest music markets including the U.S., Japan and U.K.” Meanwhile, a few days ago the Huffington Post reported that the album sold 828,773 digital copies over the first weekend of its release, with links to a Billboard report of the album earning 80,000 copies sold in just the first three hours of its availability. In short, that Beyoncé gal sure is popular.

Interestingly, that isn’t the end of the Beyoncé update today. American big box retailer announced to Billboard that the company will not be carrying the album when it’s released as a physical CD on December 20—specifically because of its digital-first release. Said Target spokesperson Erica Julkowski:

“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 Beyoncé 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. At this time, Target will not be carrying Beyoncé’s new self-titled album.”

Walmart, on the other hand, is more than happy to carry it. You know why? Because it knows that even with a huge headstart in digital sales, there are more than enough people who will want to stuff stockings with what will undoubtedly go on record as one of 2013’s biggest albums.

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So what does all this mean? Simply that the digital exclusivity model is as disruptive as it seemed in the first place, and it’s likely that this won’t be the last after-effect of what I believe will be the newest trend in how new music is distributed and sold. Beyoncé may be one of the biggest acts in music in the world right now, but I bet that we’ll learn about a new album from some other artist coming exclusively to a digital store by January.

And Target’s protest of Beyoncé won’t harm the artist in the slightest, either. For their boycott to have any effect, other retailers would have to join in. The fact that they’re the only ones (that I’ve seen, at least) declining to offer the CD simply means that the only people who’ll lose are its customers, who will undoubtedly go to rival retailers to buy the album. And the next time an artist goes exclusively digital first? You can bet your bottom dollar that Target won’t abstain from stocking the physical version then.


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