Amazon Throws Its Toys Out The Pram Because iTunes Got Beyoncé Album First

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She may have the fastest selling album in iTunes history, but not everyone is happy with Beyoncé’s success — and it’s not just limited to brick-and-mortar stores either.

Responding to Beyoncé’s iTunes exclusive, Amazon has joined Target in announcing that it will not stock physical copies of the Beyoncé album (although the album is available from Amazon’s online US MP3 store if a customer searches for it).

According to Billboard, iTunes has 41 per cent of the US retail music market, versus a combined 14 per cent for Amazon and Target.

However, while physical albums sales have more than halved since 2007, it is also worth noting that they (surprisingly) still represent $13 billion yearly sales in the US, versus $10 billion for digital sales.

Beyoncé is unlikely to be phased by the reaction to her iTunes triumph, but the reaction from retailers such as Amazon and Target could nonetheless make less established acts think twice about replicating the iTunes exclusive approach to releasing their music.

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  • StevenSaidWhat

    I’m sure Beyonce yawns at this news, but it is a big deal for lesser-known artists, and I can’t really say I blame them. I’d hate to be the smaller retailer and see all of the excitement, publicity and money going to the big guy, too.

  • lwdesign1

    Seems like Target and Amazon are shooting themselves in the foot in an effort to punish Beyonce for doing an iTunes-only digital release. On the other hand, Beyonce seems to be doing the same thing to herself by restricting digital sales of her new album only to iTunes. Instead of making $5 million in the first week (a made up figure) she could have potentially made $7 million by also releasing it on Target and Amazon’s digital music stores. I’d love to know the reason behind the “exclusive” release on iTunes so that it makes some sense. Does anyone have more information on how this could be a benefit for Beyonce? Seems to me that releasing an album on as many online stores as possible would net the most amount of sales.

  • SonsofAres

    Wow, the foot stamping by these companies is enough to drown out the overproduced sound of this new album.

  • Robert X

    Seems like Target and Amazon are shooting themselves in the foot in an effort to punish Beyonce for doing an iTunes-only digital release. On the other hand, Beyonce seems to be doing the same thing to herself by restricting digital sales of her new album only to iTunes. Instead of making $5 million in the first week (a made up figure) she could have potentially made $7 million by also releasing it on Target and Amazon’s digital music stores. I’d love to know the reason behind the “exclusive” release on iTunes so that it makes some sense. Does anyone have more information on how this could be a benefit for Beyonce? Seems to me that releasing an album on as many online stores as possible would net the most amount of sales.

    They can get the digital version multiple places, including Amazon.

About the author

Luke DormehlLuke Dormehl is a UK-based journalist and author, with a background working in documentary film for Channel 4 and the BBC. He is the author of The Formula: How Algorithms Solve All Our Problems, And Create More and The Apple Revolution, both published by Penguin/Random House. His tech writing has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, Techmeme, and other publications. He'd like you a lot if you followed him on Twitter.

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