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Beyonce sticks it to Target, giving Wal-Mart shoppers $37,500 in gift cards (+video)

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(Read caption) Beyonce: New 'XO' album tops charts
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Beyoncé continues to rewrite the book on how to sell music.

On Friday night, the pop star walked through a Wal-Mart store in Tewksbury, Mass., pushing a cart like any other shopper before stopping to announce that everyone there would get a $50 gift card. The store manager told Us Magazine that she gave out 750 cards totally $37,500.

Clearly, Beyoncé was sending Target and Amazon.com a message: Boycott my new album and I'll give my love and dollars to a competitor.

The controversy surrounding the release of Beyoncé's latest album, "XO," illustrates how the music business is changing.

On Dec. 13, Beyoncé surprised fans and brick-and-mortar retailers with the sudden release of the album only at Apple's iTunes store. The 14-track, 17-video digital album was priced at $15.99. The album became an overnight bestseller, and more than 1 million copies have sold so far.

But some retailers, such as Target and Amazon, were not amused by her one-week exclusive deal with Apple.

Target released a statement explaining that Beyoncé's fifth studio album would not be carried by its stores.

"While there are many aspects that contribute to our approach and we have appreciated partnering with Beyoncé in the past, we are primarily focused on offering CDs that will be available in a physical format at the same time as all other formats. At this time, Target will not be carrying Beyonce’s new self-titled album ‘Beyonce.’”

Amazon, in protest, also decided not to sell the physical album. Amazon is selling, but not promoting, the digital download version of "XO." Part of the Beyoncé surprise release plan included a ban on pre-sales of the album, normally an effective way to build sales.

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