Add Amazon to the short list of retailers protesting Beyonce's iTunes exclusive. While Amazon.com is carrying the MP3 version of the album, the online merchant is apparently not stocking the CD version of the album, according to label sources and a check of the site. The album is available, however, via third-party sellers in the Amazon marketplace.
Earlier this week, Target said it would not carry the new Beyonce album, which iTunes got a one week exclusive window to sell the 14-song, 17-video album and did so to the tune of more than 600,000 units in the U.S. for the first three-days of availability.
Moreover, while Amazon is carrying the Beyonce MP3 in its store, it does not appear to be supporting the album with any prime real estate. The only way the album is visible if shoppers search for it and will see that the album is there digitally for $15.99.
While most merchants have chosen to carry the Beyonce album, which streeted today after iTunes’ week-long exclusive window, they aren't happy about the preferential treatment given to Apple. Sources say Sony and Columbia still managed to ship over 500,000 units of the CD by today’s street date.
Meanwhile, in addition to being annoyed at the Beyonce exclusive, Amazon is reportedly still steaming that Sony Music Entertainment handed down an edict that Amazon, or any other retailer for that matter, couldn't pre-sell the Beyonce title. Pre-sales of new titles has proven to be an effective marketing tool and the Sony edict was interpreted as further protecting the iTunes exclusive window.
According to sources, Amazon may be considering further reprisals against Sony Music Entertainment and Columbia down the line, although conversations are said to be still ongoing between the label and the merchant.
Historically, Sony Music Entertainment has been the biggest player in handing out exclusive windows to merchant and is a master at contending with the ill-feelings such a strategy generates from other retailers. Usually, Sony finds a way to placate the other merchants by offering economic inducements in an attempt to offset whatever harm may have come from those merchants losing out on the exclusive title. Columbia and Amazon did not respond to a request for comment at press time.
King Bey got everyone pressed
Lo-Fang — a.k.a. Matthew Hemerlein — is about to get the royal treatment. After Lorde chose his track "#88" as one of her favorite of the past year, the 17-year-old singer tapped him for her spring tour. Not bad for a guy who was too shy to say "hi" to the wunderkind not that long ago.
"[She] got a copy of my record from her producer, Joel Little, pretty soon after its completion in early September and they were both into it," Hemerlein told MTV News, explaining how Lorde came to discover a musician whose debut record, Blue Film, has yet to drop. "I love the songs on Pure Heroine and I've definitely driven around L.A. at night listening to their stuff, so was really happy to hear a mutual response."
Before Lorde listed Lo-Fang's "#88" — a dreamy track that's somewhere between King Krule and James Blake (with strings!) — as her #2 song of the year on Huffington Post, though, Hemerlein was a bit scared of the singer.
"I went to her show at The Fonda [in L.A.] and was really impressed, but despite having after-show passes was too shy to say anything," he said. "I don't think she even knows this but maybe she'll find out now."
"I then found out Lorde made '#88' one of her favorite songs of 2013, which was really amazing given the fact that it took me over two years to complete and I had begun writing it while in Cambodia," he added. "So this song had a really strange journey — from being conceived in these jungle temples in Southeast Asia back to a fully controlled American recording studio in L.A. and then onto the playlist of a young and talented artist from New Zealand."
Soon after giving Hemerlein her queenly nod, Lorde attended one of Lo-Fang's shows in L.A. and — over Pho afterwards — the two finally met. And although it was only the musician's second show as Lo-Fang, Lorde chose him to go on tour with her this spring, after his record drops on February 25.