Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange Not to Be Sold in Target Stores

Channel Orange

Following the ‘coming out,’ TV appearance, and week-early iTunes exclusive of R&B crooner Frank Ocean’s debut record Channel ORANGE, it has become public that Target has decided not to stock the record on their shelves.

It’s only been 3 days since we received word that Frank Ocean would be releasing his long awaited album a whole week earlier than the originally planned July 17 street date. This is not an unheard of phenomenon, but it was an exciting one nonetheless. Not for Target, however.

As Billboard reports, the retailer refuses to stock the album on their shelves in response to the Apple mega-retailer exclusive which is still holding until this upcoming Tuesday, not to the recent controversy of Ocean’s now public sexuality. This is were things get a little dicey. If we take Target’s story and look at it closely, we can surely find some places to shoot some holes.

In 2011, Jay-Z and Kanye West released a collaborative album called Watch the Throne (Which Ocean was featured on twice). This album, too, was released an entire week early, giving iTunes the exclusive retail rights for a 7 day period. It’s curious that if one were to walk into a Target store right now, it’s likely they would find a copy of Watch the Throne on the shelves of the store’s digital entertainment department.

With that hole blown through the chain’s reasoning, all that is left is the possibility of homophobic corporate tightwads saying “no,” right? Perhaps not, but there are many who are vocally charging the company with that accusation.

One such person is 1/2 of the Odd Future management team, Christian Clancy. He took to his Twitter account yesterday afternoon to say “Target has refused to carry Frank’s album because of iTunes exclusive, Interesting since they also donate to non-equal rights organizations.” He brings up a good point.

Last year Target cancelled a multi-million dollar television campaign for the new Lady Gaga record. Why? Because of affiliations with non-LGBT friendly political persons. Target of course caught wind of the bad publicity and issues a statement to counter such homophobic claims:

The claims made about Target’s decision to not carry the Frank Ocean album are absolutely false. Target supports inclusivity and diversity in every aspect of our business. Our assortment decisions are based on a number of factors, including guest demand.

Target has a longstanding tradition of supporting music and artistry that reflects the diverse landscape of American culture. Our history of partnering with diverse artists includes recent partnerships with a variety of musicians, such as Ricky Martin, B.o.B., and Gloria Estefan.

Clancy later recanted his statement, Tweeting “I apologize for my comments about Target. They are not carrying Frank’s album because it went digital first. Not for ANY other reason. … My response was simply an emotional knee jerk reaction.”

In response to the iTunes exclusive, Target had the  following statement to make

At Target, we focus on offering our guests a wide assortment of physical CDs, so our selection of new releases is dedicated to physical CDs rather than titles that are released digitally in advance of the street date.

Again, silly and historically hypocritical, but ok, fine. We get it.

The album’s early debut was a surprise for fans of Ocean, but had been planned from the get-go. Late Night with Jimmy fallon booker noted, “The announcement of the early digital release was part of the plan from the very beginning.” Which was a great marketing strategy. Give the people what they don’t expect and they’ll react. That is tried and true.

At the end of the day, Frank Ocean wins and Target is missing out on some killer sales. Channel ORANGE is blowing up. Get your copy here or in stores on July 17.

Jacob Tender

Jacob is a freelance writer who calls curbside.audio home. He is also the co-host of the Bantha Fodder podcast and helps UTG with technical and financial nonsense.
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