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Digital Retail Warfare

DIGITAL WARFARE: Last week’s Amazon MP3 $2.99 special on Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange—which won’t get counted on SoundScan, but will on HITS Album Sales chart today—has industry lips flapping overtime. It is clear that Amazon’s pricing move on July 16 was in retaliation for Ocean’s previous one-week iTunes digital exclusive, the same reason Target offered for not carrying the physical album to date. As noted, Amazon will generate about 15,000 downloads of the Ocean album at $2.99 apiece. This cat-and-mouse game between labels and retailers is obviously escalating. If SoundScan hadn’t implemented what many see as an arbitrary four-week $3.49 limit on counting sales in an attempt to protect “the integrity” of their chart, the Amazon promotion wouldn’t even be an issue. (7/24p)

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