Upset About Beyonce Going Digital, Target Refuses To Stock New Album

from the stupidity-in-action dept

As you may have heard, Beyonce took much of the music world by surprise by launching her new album on iTunes only with no buildup. It was an incredibly successful promotion, garnering a ton of sales, and showing that she recognizes that digital is where the music world is these days. However, in a show of pure spite and jealousy, retailer Target responded by saying that it won't sell her physical CD once it comes out, because they don't want to encourage this sort of "going digital" behavior:
"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.'"
This reminds me of the petulant and childish response of movie theaters when filmmakers started trying to release films online at the same time they were in the theaters. Like in that situation, these "brick and mortar" guys are fighting back against the tide, looking out of touch and childish at the same time. I would imagine that the basic reaction to Target's decision is to shrug. It's likely that people care a lot more about Beyonce than they do about Target, and if Target wants to send them elsewhere to get the music they want, those people just won't shop at Target. I'm not sure how Target wins in that situation.

Where this gets even more bizarre is that, generally speaking, CDs and such are low margin, or even loss leaders, for retailers like Target. They don't make their profit there, but rather use the CDs to bring people in to sell them much higher margin goods. Yet, in this case, they won't even get that benefit, all because they think they can prevent the natural tide of the move to digital? Oh, and looking childish and petty in the process. Who at Target thought that was a good idea?
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Filed Under: beyonce, digital, loss leaders, music, retail, strategy
Companies: target


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  1. icon
    PaulT (profile), 19 Dec 2013 @ 4:55am

    Re:

    "Imagine...wanting to sell somebody music on hard media so anyone could play it anywhere, loan it to anybody, reencode it to play on any - and as many - devices as they like, and even sell it to somebody else. "

    Nobody is forcing them not to sell the CD. Nothing about the digital release prevents them from doing so, and other retailers are indeed selling the CD. Hell, even Amazon is selling the CD despite them apparently having been locked out of being able to sell the digital version. The only thing they were prevented from doing was selling a specific version at a specific time, and to that I say welcome to the world of licencing and marketing deals - which have been here for decades and I'll bet that Target don't whine when they're the ones with an exclusive.

    They're only whining because people could buy the digital version first, so instead of adapting to that reality they've decided not to sell anything. Refusing to sell a product at all because a competitor managed to get a first bite of the cherry really isn't good business, and definitely nothing to do with what you're implying.

    "DRM-Digital is not the wave of the future."

    I agree, which is why pretty much anyone here who's not on the RIAA payroll has supported non-DRM media for years, and why it's been removed from most, if not all, purchased music files. Which purchased music services still force DRM, and why do you think anyone here supports it?

    Do you have a point, or did you just want to kick the crap out of a handy strawman?

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