Frank Ocean has had the music industry buzzing for the past week: first for a revelation on Tumblr about his same-sex first love, then for his performance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and the subsequent early, digital-only release of his debut LP, channel ORANGE.
Now it looks like the New Orleans-born crooner’s media blitz is about to pay off, as Hits Daily Double projects the album’s first-week sales to be around 110-125k — impressive numbers for an album only available in digital form.
Despite its expected success, though, retail chain Target is refusing to stock the album once the physical copies become available July 17, citing the early digital release as the reason.
“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,” Target said in a statement to MTV.
The retailer has previously stocked albums that had already been released digitally, including Jay-Z and Kanye West‘s Watch The Throne, which was on iTunes four days before its physical release and is on Target shelves to this day. It is unknown why channel ORANGE will not receive the same treatment.
Prior to Target’s statement on the matter, Ocean’s manager Christian Clancy speculated whether his client’s sexuality was the reason behind the retailer’s decision.
“Target has refused to carry Frank’s album because of iTunes exclusive. Interesting since they also donate to non-equal rights organizations,” he wrote in a since-deleted tweet, according to MTV.
Regardless of Target’s reasoning for not carrying the album, Ocean will continue promoting it. He embarks on the channel ORANGE Tour this Friday. Check the full itinerary here.