Hamptons visitor Beyonce made history this week when her new self-titled album sold 828,773 copies within three days of the worldwide, digital-only release, according to Billboard.com. With absolutely no pre-release announcement or promotion, Beyonce‘s massive sales set a new U.S. iTunes store record for biggest sales week of an album.
The record dropped on iTunes at midnight on Friday, December 13 and has sold 617,000 downloads by Sunday. The full album sales were likely improved by the fact that none of the songs were available individually, so fans were forced to purchase the whole 14-song, 18-video megillah for $15.99. Bey’s rival Taylor Swift held the previous record, with 465,000 downloads of Red sold in one week, Billboard reports. (Editor’s Note: Beyonce dropped on Swift’s 24th birthday — Happy Birthday, Taylor! Not.)
The new album “is all but guaranteed a No. 1 debut on the Billboard 200 chart this week,” the music site says, noting that the official word will out midweek. This is Beyonce’s fifth album and her fifth consecutive number one.
When the record has its physical CD release later this week, it should see another round of tremendous sales. But one national retailer won’t be getting in on the action. According to Billboard, Target has opted out of selling the album because Beyonce was released digitally before being made available to brick-and-mortar retailers. A spokesperson for Target told Billboard that making a new album available digitally before it is available physically “impacts demand and sales projections.”
Fortunately for local fans, another big box retailer in Riverhead, Walmart, will carry the album—albeit a censored version, as per the company’s policy toward “explicit” content. Of the 14 songs and 18 videos, iTunes lists 12 as explicit.
Billboard says iTunes is America’s largest music seller, with an estimated 41 percent of the market, while Walmart has 10 percent, Target has 5 percent and Amazon.com hold 9 percent of U.S. music sales.
If you can’t wait until Friday to buy Beyonce, download it—and annoy Target—from the iTunes store.