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Target refuses to sell Beyoncé’s new album due to digital-first release

Likely unhappy that Beyoncé choose digital delivery over physical discs to initially launch her new album, Target just announced that the company will not carry the album when it’s made available on compact disc at the end of the week. On December 13, Columbia Records released the new album on iTunes exclusively without any marketing behind the launch. Over the last three days, the album has been downloaded 828,773 times, essentially shattering the previous record of 617,213 albums sold over one week by Taylor Swift.

Releasing a statement about the company’s disinterest in the new album, Target spokesperson Erica Julkowski said “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.” 

Julkowski continued “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 ‘Beyonce.’

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Interestingly, Apple and Columbia Records used the exclusivity window to force iTunes users to purchase the entire album for $15.99 rather than purchasing specific songs for 99 cents each. However, in addition to the 14 songs on the album, the iTunes package came with 17 videos and tracks that featured her husband Jay-Z, rapper Drake and R&B singer Frank Ocean. 

Prior to this release, Target had a strong working relationship with Beyoncé. During her last album release in 2011, the singer choose Target to sell an exclusive version of the album that included six additional songs. With Target out of the way, it’s likely that Amazon and Walmart will pick up the majority of physical media sales when the album is made available to retailers on December 20.