Jay-Z surprised the world this past weekend when he announced that he would be releasing a new album. Serving as his 12th studio album, Magna Carta Holy Grail is already being described as something that will make history, and it hasn’t even been heard yet. That is because just as his rap skills seem to only refine with age, in the case of this album, so too apparently do his marketing tactics. We know this because during the announcement, he revealed that Magna Carta would be promoted and distributed through a new media partnership that could set a new precedent for how albums are digitally promoted, consumed, and ultimately, paid for.
The news was delivered in a 3 minute commercial that aired during the NBA finals on ABC. The spot features Jay in a room reviewing the work that will be Magna Carta Holy Grail with a who’s who of his musical buddies. Among others, Jay is joined by producers Timbaland, Pharrell Williams, and Rick Rubin, who is vibin’ to the music while laying on the couch. The group of Hip Hop industry leaders is shown jamming out to a variety of beats while discussing his creative process, and role the web plays in having it reach today’s music consumer. Then the video cuts to titling that reads, “The Next Big Thing Is Here, Magnacartaholygrail.com, Samsung Galaxy #Magnacarta.”
Yes that’s right Jay-Z used this commercial to reveal to the world that Magna Carta Holy Grail would be promoted and released through an exclusive partnership with Samsung Galaxy. According to The Wall Street Journal, this new album, which is scheduled for standard retail release on July 4th, will be available for free download to the first million Samsung Galaxy Smart Phone users that choose to unlock the music. Magna Carta will be made available to them through an app that will begin being offered to users on June 24th. As a result, these first million Jay-Z fans who happen to use Samsung Galaxy smart phones will have complete access to the album 72 hours ahead of the general public. The only catch is, they won’t be able to share the files with anyone else until after the standard retail release date.
When it comes to compensation, this has presented itself to be a huge deal. For the exclusive promotion, Samsung has already paid Jay-Z $5 dollars for each copy of the million that they will be giving away to their users. Therefore, he has cleverly found a way to already make a cool $5 million off the album, even though no one has heard it yet.
Naturally, if this plan proves to be successful, it could significantly alter the way in which artists get paid for their work in the future. So far, Jay-Z is proof that exclusive licensing to a new media distributor like Samsung is a worry free and savvy way to create buzz, reach an audience, and in cases like Jay-Z’s get very well compensated without risk. Record labels may also want this process to standardize too. Although this hasn’t been confirmed, if Sound Scan decides to include Samsung’s 1 million copies in its sales tally, the album could be easily boosted when making its chart debut.
Watch potential history being made. Check out the commercial below, and imagine the possibilities. Cheers!
Jay-Z Magna Carta Holy Grail Samsung Commercial