'Knee-jerk' accusation fuels rumors that 'Channel Orange' refused over homophobia
Frank Ocean's "Channel Orange" was released a week and a day early on Monday, exclusively through iTunes, and brick-and-mortar retailers weren't pleased. Any music-sales shop would be, and has been, and will continue to be unhappy about it. Target reacted to the news by claiming it wouldn't stock physical CD copies of "Channel Orange" in its stores. Now, because of bad timing, Target has to defend its sales maneuver not just to fans, but to those who view its decision to be influenced by homophobia.
As widely reported, singer Ocean outed himself online two weeks ago. Since then, artists and labels have rallied to support this popular African-American solo male artist in hip-hop/R&B music, considering the dearth of openly gay African-American popular solo male artists in hip-hop/R&B music. Especially after his stint with Odd Future, his guest spots on Watch the Throne and the critical acclaim for his mixtape tracks, Ocean has become one of the hottest new items on Def Jam's roster, and subsequently one of their biggest third quarter releases this year.
When the surprise came that Ocean's album "Channel Orange" would be available for purchase more than a week early, Def Jam claimed the move was part of the marketing plan all along.
Meanwhile, a war has raged between labels/distributors and brick-and-mortar, particularly big box retailers who have the leverage to help or diminish sales of new titles in a major way. Retailers like Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Target already compete among themselves, with major slashes in price or exclusives like the AC/DC album release or extra-disc bonuses; however, they also compete with digital retail, which has the added benefit of never running out of "stock" and suffer no shipping costs.