When Wal-Mart sold 784,000 copies of AC/DC's "Black Ice" during the album's first week in stores, many label executives believed that more superstars would release albums exclusively through big-box retailers.

And when Best Buy experienced disappointing sales of Guns N' Roses' "Chinese Democracy," some of those same executives thought, well, maybe not.

"Chinese Democracy" sold 261,000 units in its first week of availability, according to Nielsen SoundScan. That included sales at Best Buy, exclusive digital retailer iTunes and and other stores selling import versions of the album.

While first-week sales forecasts for "Chinese Democracy" ranged from 300,000 to AC/DC's first-week tally of nearly 800,000, most major-label sales prognosticators thought the album might sell between 400,000 and 500,000 units.

So how did one of the most hotly anticipated releases of recent years fall so short of expectations? Some executives suggested...

Click here for the full story, including how Wal-Mart and Best Buy's marketing and in-store strategies differed, the lesson some retailers want the major labels to take away from the Guns N' Roses exclusive and more.