Motives Behind Target’s Refusal to Sell Frank Ocean’s Album Questioned

Frank Ocean’s new album, Channel Orange, officially drops today, but if you were thinking of picking it up while running some errands at Target, think again. Since the critically acclaimed album was released in digital form on iTunes last week, Target will not stock the physical version, saying in a statement that they focus on offering their 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.”

Sounds fair enough, but the timing of Target’s decision, along with its history of being linked to anti-gay groups, has some questioning whether the retailer’s refusal to sell Ocean’s album has more to do with the artist’s recently-revealed bisexuality than with the iTunes exclusive.

According to, upon learning of Target’s decision, Ocean’s manager, Christian Clancy, tweeted: “Target has refused to carry Frank’s album because of iTunes exclusive. Interesting since they also donate to non-equal rights organizations.” He later deleted that tweet, and then tweeted: “note to self: take your own advice. emotional knee jerk reacting isn’t the move,” and later, “I apologize for my comments about Target. They are not carrying Franks album because it went digital first. Not for ANY other reason.”

Target has said that the claims “are absolutely false.” The retailer also pointed out that they have sold albums from Ricky Martin, Adam Lambert, and Elton John in the past. It is also worth noting then, that Target does sell Jay-Z’s and Kanye West’s album Watch the Throne, which was also digitally released in advance.