Late last week (13 December to be precise), the singer known in some quarters as Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter (but, like sister divas Madonna and Cher, enjoying a fine old career with just the one name) pulled a fast one and released a brand new album, without any fanfare or preamble.
The result? Beyoncé’s fifth solo studio album, called simply Beyoncé, has become the fastest selling album ever on the iTunes store worldwide.
In only three days, it has sold 828,773 albums. And it’s not all about the music. With the 14 new songs are 17 videos (how does that work?), which were filmed all around the globe – in locations as glamorous as Rio de Janeiro, New York, Paris, Sydney and, er, Houston.
The records don’t stop there. Beyoncé also set a new record for US first week album sales, by shifting 617,213 copies. Proving the singer’s widespread appeal, the release rocketed to No. 1 in no fewer than 104 countries.
The album’s success also gives the performer the last laugh against the US Target, which is refusing to stock the album. “At Target we focus on offering our guests a wide assortment of physical CDs, and when a new album is available digitally before it is available physically, it impacts demand and sales projections,” Target spokesperson Erica Julkowski told Billboard magazine.
Not quite so precious is Walmart, which says it will have the physical CD in sort by the end of this week. Walmart is “happy to be able to carry her album and support all physical music,” Walmart spokesperson Sarah McKinney told Billboard.
We still can’t help suspecting though that the undeniably safe titles of her previous album, 4, and this one have at least something to do with that unfortunate naming debacle of her second effort, B’Day. Seriously, did no one ever mention it during the planning phase? Or, is it just that when you’re a star of Beyoncé’s magnitude, no one dares mention that your ‘great idea’ actually sounds like a bathroom fitting…?