Following Frank Ocean’s very personal admission on his Tumblr and a high-profile performance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon last week, Def Jam released his major-label debut Channel Orange a week early on July 10 as an iTunes exclusive.
While that move may have angered Target, which is protesting the early digital release by not carrying the physical album (discs officially hit retailers yesterday), Ocean probably isn’t too worried about it. Channel Orange sold an impressive 131,000 copies (3,000 of which were actually CDs) in its first week. As Billboard notes, his sales are in line with recent R&B/hip-hop debuts from Usher (Looking 4 Myself, 128,000) and Chris Brown (Fortune, 135,000).
Some of the initial interest undoubtedly comes from Ocean’s recent revelation that his first love was a man, but reviews — including EW’s — have largely been enthusiastic, and have little to do with his expressed sexuality.