In an act of music industry cattiness (or just a smart business move, depending on who you ask), Amazon has begun selling Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange for $2.99. And while that may be a boon for record sales, it’s also going to hurt Ocean’s chart position, as the albums purchased during the sale won’t count for this week’s chart rankings. According to Billboard, they “exclude sales of titles scanned for less than $3.49 within the first four weeks of release.” In other words, Frank Ocean will move copies, but it won’t show up in the rankings.
Insiders are saying the sale price is a retaliation for Island Def Jam’s decision to release Channel Orange as an iTunes exclusive; Amazon might be leveraging their price to warn others that favoring iTunes will result in negative impact elsewhere. Ocean’s manager Christian Clancy responded to Amazon’s action in a diplomatic fashion: “Frank gives us the opportunity to see some of the business practices that need to evolve.” Whether those practices do evolve remains to be seen.