Lil Wayne‘s I Am Not A Human Being is pissing off music store owners who say they’re not getting a chance to move product. The LP was released today (September 27), which is also Wayne’s birthday, via the web and is slated to hit shelves for a CD that fans can hold in their hot little hands on October 12 with two additional tracks.
“Its disturbing,” one merchant told Billboard.com. “Its definitely putting brick-and-mortar second, and we are going to lose business that we would normally get. How is the consumer going to know that the album will have a second physical release?”
This isn’t the first time Lil Wayne bypassed retailers like Best Buy and Walmart for a digital release. In 2008, Wayne released The Leak EP in a quiet move that literally popped up on sites like Rhapsody and Amazon without any warning or marketing. Still the EP sold 2,401 units in its first week and, banking on what marketing and promotion could do for I Am Not A Human Being, Cash Money executives have decided not to fix what’s isn’t broken.
Meanwhile, retailer Anderson Merchandiser has been campaigning for major labels to release physical products day-and-date with digital releases because the early release of digital singles is cannibalizing album sales. However, according to Anderson, if labels held back digital singles until the physical album is ready, it would generate more overall revenue for the industry.
Cash Money/Universal Motown, according to sources, is projecting first week digital sales of 90,000 units; 25,000 units for the second week, and finally 225,000 units of combined sales in the third week of digital and first week of physical. 20,000 of the thrid week numbers are assumed to come from digital.
In this day and age, it’s difficult to decide whether fans would like a digital version or a physical copy to hold so he or she can pour over the liner notes. Or maybe that’s just us? You tell us!