Samsung have made Jay-Z’s new album profitable before it has even released. The company has basically pre-ordered 1 million Jay-Z records as a gift for its Galaxy users. Announced during a commercial break at game 5 of the NBA Finals, the deal sees that the first million owners of Samsung’s Galaxy S3, Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 2 can download the free Jay Z Magna Carta app from the Google Play store, which will give them exclusive access to his new album for free starting on July 4th.
This is the first time a major release has been exclusively premiered by a brand, and it raises alarm bells yet again and many questions about the future of the music business – do major artists no longer need a traditional music distributor to sell millions of copies of their albums ? Are brands now officially becoming the biggest players in the music industry? And which brands and artists can follow next?
Billboard and Nielsen Soundscan won’t count the million copies Samsung purchased as official sales because they don’t recognize bulk sales or free-to-consumer product – but who would care, when the value of the entire Samsung deal with Jay Z is reported at close to $30 million.