By Gil Kaufman
Frank Ocean's name has made headlines more than ever in the past week, and it seems like that sudden scrutiny might be really fueling the sales of his Def Jam debut Channel Orange, which he unexpectedly released one week early.
The record, which has garnered near-universal praise as well as heightened attention since Ocean made headlines last week by sharing his story about a previous relationship with a man?, won't top the Billboard 200 chart, but is handily beating early sales forecasts.
Billboard reported that Orange was originally expected to move around 40,000 to 50,000 copies. That would have put it in line with the chart debut of Odd Future's The OF Tape Vol. 2 earlier this year (#5, 40,000) and OF leader Tyler, the Creator's 2011 album Goblin (#5, 45,000). But after Orange leaked before its planned July 17 release date, the decision was made to put it out immediately on iTunes and clearance was given to retailers to put it on shelves as soon as they receive it. That led Billboard to predict that Orange could wind up in the #2 slot next week on sales between 100,000 and 120,000.
If the upper range of sales holds, that would put Ocean not far off the pace of Chris Brown, whose fifth album, Fortune, snagged the #1 spot this week on sales of 135,000. While Ocean won't hit the top spot thanks to the chart debut of the latest album from the Zac Brown Band, the strong sales are even more impressive considering that major big-box retailer Target confirmed this week that it would not stock the disc because of the early iTunes release.
Ocean's manager, Christian Clancy, suggested in a since-deleted tweet that Target's decision was possibly tied to the company's past donations to "non-equal rights organizations." Clancy later retracted those comments and Target denied the claims, saying that the decision came because of a policy of not stocking CDs that are released "digitally in advance of the street date."