Yesterday, I wondered whether Alicia Keys or Celine Dion would top next week’s album charts, and a poll of our readers indicated a plurality of support for Ms. Almost Named Herself Alicia Wild, although a few people noted that Celine’s appearance on Oprah earlier this week would likely cinch things for the besuited French-Canadian. Anyway, last night, in the name of research (and needing a shower curtain rod), I took a trip to Target, and the music section–the only place where one can buy CDs in this particular mall–revealed some slightly surprising findings!
As it turned out, the music section was completely devoid of copies of As I Am, while shoppers looking for Taking Chances could have their pick of the 10 copies remaining on the endcap. And while I figured that part of this was the result of the mall in question trying to “skew to the youth” (dear malls of America: this is a bad idea that you should never try to do, seriously), part of me also wondered if it was because people who may have seen Celine on Oprah and been interested in buying the CD didn’t really know where to go to buy it; sure, big-boxes have music departments, but I’d guess that the association between seeing a new album advertised on TV and going to Target or wherever–except in cases like the Eagles’, where the store and the album’s availability are intertwined–isn’t really automatic for people just yet. (And it likely never will be, given that big-boxes are going to start hiding their music departments somewhere inside the great big tents in the camping-equipment areas soon.) Obviously one Target in one weird-ass mall in one suburb is an isolated case, and perhaps the relative providence of Celine albums is just a result of behavior by the more casual, Oprah-watching listener: they’d just wait until they had to go on some sort of errand and pick it up then, instead of rushing out right on release day like the younger, more-devoted fan would. But given that we’ve devoted so much e-ink to the woes of the record industry, and the slowly-dawning-on-the-people-who-sold-out-to-big-boxes fact that people can’t buy albums if there’s nowhere for them to actually do just that–or even feel like they can do so!–I did raise my eyebrow at this stock discrepancy, what with Taking Chances allegedly being such a monster album that it scared Britney Spears away from its release date.