Digital retailer iTunes is the exclusive seller of Beyonce's new fast-selling self-titled surprise album through at least Dec. 18, when some brick-and-mortar retailers in the U.S. could begin to receive copies of the 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," Target spokesperson Erica Julkowski tells Billboard.
She continues, "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. At this time, Target will not be carrying Beyonce's new self-titled album 'Beyonce'."
Columbia Records released 'Beyonce' at 12 a.m. EST on the morning of Friday, Dec. 13, exclusively via iTunes without any pre-release announcement. Most physical retailers will receive it by Friday, Dec. 20. It is understood that the album will not have any additional bonus or exclusive content, for any retailer.
Bey has previously worked with Target to give the retailer exclusive editions of her albums. Her last studio release, 2011′s '4', had a version exclusive to Target that came with six additional tracks. She also starred in a TV commercial for the retailer, where the singer can be heard saying "I put so much into my new album, and only Target gives you all of it."
Billboard estimates that iTunes is the largest seller of music in the U.S., with about a 41% share of the market in 2012. Walmart had 10%, while Amazon (9%) and Target (5%) were the third and fourth-largest sellers, respectively.
However, another major retailer, Walmart, will be carrying 'Beyonce' -- and it should be in their stores by the end of the week.
Walmart is "happy to be able to carry her album and support all physical music," says Walmart spokesperson Sarah McKinney. (As per Walmart's long-standing policy, they will only carry the non-explicit version of 'Beyonce'.)
'Beyonce' set sales records in the iTunes Store after only three days on sale. According to iTunes and Columbia Records, Beyonce's record label, the album sold 617,000 copies in the U.S. and 828,773 total worldwide through Sunday night (Dec. 15). That marks both the largest single week ever in both the U.S. iTunes Store, and, the fastest-selling album worldwide in the iTunes Store.