*Beyonce’s promotion with Target for the exclusive deluxe edition of her new album “4” has had a little snafu.
The Target CD, released on June 28, comes with six extra tracks (three new songs and three remixes), 17 minutes of club remixes of the record’s first single “(Girls) Run The World” and bonus video content, including a director’s cut of the “Girls” video.
The promotion follows similar ones for artists like Ricky Martin, Allison Krauss and “America’s Got Talent’ winner Jackie Evancho. The retailer’s partnership with Taylor Swift helped the country singer lock in a first week sale of over 1 million units of her 2010 album “Speak Now.”
With Beyonce, Target projects another quantifiable out-the-gate success (total first week sales of “4” are expected to come in around 300,000). But partly as a result of that consumer demand, the retailer is having a hard time keeping its shelves stocked with ample copies of “4,” and those that did make it to Target guests’ hands (as the company refers to their customers) came with another hiccup: the exclusive video was not quite ready for primetime. Fans were instead greeted with a message stating that the video was still being “finalized” and that they should try to access it again on Friday, according to the Los Angeles Times.
THR spoke to Target’s vice president of entertainment John Butcher about partnering with Beyonce, who appeared at the retailer’s Harlem store on Thursday to celebrate its one-year-anniversary.
THR: When did talks begin in earnest with Beyonce’s camp about partnering for the release of 4?
Butcher: A few months ago. In some cases, talks begin years in advance, but this one came together relatively quickly comparatively… It’s all a matter of when the key aspects of the album start to come into play — is there going to be additional content, and how is the content? Is the music good? Once we have a full line of sight to all the assets on the table, it’s easier for everybody — the artist, manager, distributor, label and retailer — to get together and talk about what that partnership looks like.
THR: So in a way, Target has an A&R role in deciding whether these extra tracks are good enough for an exclusive?
Butcher: With someone like Beyonce, it’s kind of a no-brainer. We know she makes great music and that if she has extra content, we want it. When we heard Beyoncé say that she saved some of her favorite tracks for the deluxe album, we knew there was something special there… Plus, her message of empowerment is something that really resonates with our guests.
THR: There have been reports of a shortage of discs in certain stores. What’s the story?
Butcher: Honestly, day one sales were fantastic for us, especially on the deluxe edition. Beyoncé fans came out in droves on Tuesday and sales have been very strong so we’re reacting. Sony has been a great partner with us and they’re getting us more product as fast as they possibly can.
THR: What does that tell you about potential first week sales?
Butcher: Her deluxe to national album percentage was higher than expected and higher than it has been in the past, so people are coming out to buy the deluxe which has been wonderful to see… We’ll release sales data at the end of the week, but so far, the week has shaken out to be good. Our day 1 market share is in line with where we were hoping it would be and sales are off to a great start. We’ll be meeting or exceeding our forecast for Beyoncé and she’s doing better than she’s done with her other albums for us. With the way it’s tracking, we couldn’t be happier.
THR: How about the bonus video content which wasn’t ready by release date. Any idea when customers will be able to successfully access it?
Butcher: Beyonce’s team is still finalizing aspects of the content, and they just didn’t want to be released until it was perfect. It’s on its way and coming soon… We could have forced something through that wasn’t right — it was our prerogative to do so — but we didn’t want to do it. We certainly don’t want to disappoint our guests, we believe they’d rather have the right content and wait a couple days than get something that wasn’t going to be very special. We’re confident that everybody will be happy in the end.