Chris Brown has apparently taken to his Twitter page to discuss what he feels is blackballing by “the music industry”. Apparently, he walked into a Wal-Mart store and found that the store wasn’t stocking his album “Graffiti”, which came out earlier in the week.

In a foul-mouthed tirade on his Twitter page, Brown accused record stores of not stocking his CD on shelves and lying to customers and also said that the industry could “kiss (his) ass”.

OK-so let’s try to analyze this.

First off-do I really believe that Chris is being blackballed? No. There have been artists who have been in equal amounts of trouble and most retailers didn’t bat an eyelash. After R. Kelly and Michael Jackson got into their child abuse troubles, music retailers didn’t suddenly wipe all their albums off the shelves (Incidentally: Kelly, Jackson and Brown’s albumsĀ are all distributed by Sony Music). “Chocolate Factory” sold 3 million copies, “Invincible” and “HIStory” both sold well over 2 million copies. I was working in retail when all three albums came out, and there was never a directive from anyone saying “take those albums off the shelves”. So I find it really hard to believe that there is a mass conspiracy out to get Chris Brown.

Secondly, how many of Chris Brown’s fans actually go out to record stores and buy albums? And if they go to their local record store and don’t find the album, don’t you think they’d just go home, turn their computer on and download the album from iTunes? I could see the guy bitching if his album was out of stock at record stores and his fans had no other way to get the record, but we live in a time when there are multiple options for this sort of thing. If it’s not at Wal-Mart or Best Buy, buy it off of iTunes or Amazon, or mail order it from one of the retailers’ websites.

Is there a lingering bad taste in the public’s mouth resulting from his beating of Rihanna last February? Certainly? “Graffiti” is looking at a first week estimated between 90,000-100,000 units. Not awful, but about 1/3 of what his last album, “Exclusive”, sold in its’ first week and only enough to land him the #5 position on this week’s charts (although it will be the week’s best-selling R&B album). Is it possible that a lot of people who purchased “Exclusive” are turned off by either the beating or Brown’s insincere-seeming press tour or attrition? Yeah. Based on that info, can you say that Brown is being blackballed? Absolutely not.

Listen, people. The name of the game is money. If there’s a demand for Chris Brown’s music, you’d best believe that there would be rows and rows of the “Graffiti” album on every store shelf in existence. No retailer, no matter how noble minded, is going to piss away Christmas season money in exchange for standing up for a principle.

This all brings to mind another question: do we judge an artist on their output as opposed to their personal lives? That’s a tricky question to answer, and I don’t know if I have the answer to that question myself. I’m not really a Chris Brown fan, and I probably wouldn’t have bought “Graffiti” whether or not he assaulted Rihanna, but I can’t say what other music buyers may or may not do.

Your thoughts?