Nicki Minaj sounded off on a variety of topics during her recent appearance on New York radio station Power 105.1’s “The Breakfast Club” (fun fact: she likes her turkey bacon crispy), though she saved no small amount of vitriol for three of the nation’s biggest music retailers, whom she said are seriously hamstringing sales of her Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded — The Re-Up … by not stocking the album their stores.
“It’s hard to get the album because the stores basically said that the last few re-releases they had put out did not do well and they don’t want to take the chance,” Minaj said. “So, Target and Walmart [are] not selling the album. Target is actually my biggest retailer … they’ve sold the most Nicki Minaj albums ever, so thank you, Target. But I wish you could’ve sold this one.”
Minaj added that Best Buy only ordered “limited” quantities of Re-Up (a reissue of her Roman Reloaded album that comes packaged with an additional eight-song EP and a DVD) because they “want[ed] to play it safe,” and added that the big three retailers have “kind of set [her] up to fail.”
Of course, that last point may be up for debate. Because Re-Up still managed to sell 36,000 copies in its first week of release … certainly not Rihanna numbers , but good enough to lift her Roman Reloaded album from #107 on the Billboard Top 200 all the way up to #27 (since Nielsen SoundScan combines sales of reissues with the original album). Re-Up also jolted Minaj’s sales by a staggering 591 percent … and, as far as repacked albums are concerned, that’s the name of the game.
“Expanded reissues aren’t always guaranteed big sellers. It really depends on the extra content and timing of the release … Nicki’s reissue was seemingly timed to profit from holiday shopping,” Keith Caulfield, Billboard’s associate director of charts and retail, told MTV News, adding that sales of Re-Up were actually better than similar reissues by Minaj’s contemporaries:
“In the week Katy Perry reissued Teenage Dream, the combined sales of the reissue and the original album were 33,000,” he said. “That was up 190 percent compared to the previous week.”
So while Nicki may have been a tad hyperbolic when she said Walmart and Target were setting her up to fail, she was correct that neither retailer is actually stocking Re-Up in their store … which sort of makes its sales all the more impressive. Though, according to reps for each company, their reasons for not carrying the album have nothing to do with her as an artist, and everything to do with business.
“We carry Nicki Minaj’s re-released album, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded — The Re-Up at Target.com,” Leah Guimond, a spokesperson for the retailer told MTV News. “Target will continue to evaluate guest demand to determine if the album will be carried in store at a future date.”
A spokesperson for Walmart said that the company’s decision to stock Re-Up had nothing to do with the fact that it’s a reissue … but rather, that the retailer has a policy of not selling albums that come with a “Parental Advisory” label on them.
“Walmart does not carry music that has a ’Parental Advisory’ label. We do carry some ’edited’ versions of popular music titles,” Veronica Marshall, a senior manager for Walmart’s corporate communications department wrote in an email. “However, in this instance, an edited version was not offered by the artist or the music label.”
A rep for Best Buy did not specifically address Minaj’s claim that the retailer ordered a limited amount of the album, but added that “We are fans of Nicki Minaj [and] are comfortable with our inventory position.”