Frank Ocean is winning! Following the buzz around his sexuality Ocean decided to use his own website to address the rumors once and for all. Days after revealing he’d fell in love with a man at 19, Ocean shocked everyone by releasing the digital version of his debut album Channel Orange a week early. The Internet went bananas quickly making it the No. 1 album on iTunes a couple of hours after its release. While we were busy indulging in the Stevie Wonder-esque voice over eloquent songwriting in Channel Orange, speculations were made regarding if Ocean’s early release was due to the massive support he received in opening up about his sexuality. ‘Was it a publicity stunt?’ was a common question tossed around like rice thrown at weddings. According to EW.com, Def Jam claims the early release was “all part of Channel Orange‘s unusual marketing strategy.” A marketing strategy that worked, might we add.
EW spoke to a Def Jam rep who confirmed that the New York Times profile, early iTunes release and Fallon announcement were always a part of their plan. “Frank’s appearance on the show was on the books for almost two months, well before his letter last week,” Late Night booker Jonathan Cohen confirms to EW via email. “The announcement of the early digital release was part of the plan from the very beginning.” And Def Jam president Joie Manda said Frank’s letter in no way affected the album’s marketing plans. “You have to understand that Frank’s letter last week was in NO WAY intended to impact the marketing of this record. Like all things with Frank, it was a carefully measured, very personal decision.”
On the flip side not everyone was thrilled about Channel Orange’s surprise debut. According to Frank Ocean’s manager, Christian Clancy, Target refuses to sell the album when the physical copies are released on Tuesday. Clancy believes it has more to do with Frank’s sexuality than anything else. He tweeted and has since deleted, “Target has refused to carry Frank’s album because of iTunes exclusive. Interesting since they also donate to non-equal rights organizations.” With all the headlines, questions surrounding opportunistic marketing schemes and Target’s decision, one thing is for certain–Channel Orange is a staple on our iPods. All that other stuff…what’s a king to a god like Frank Ocean?
[Photo: Island Def Jam's website]