Samsung has purchased one million copies of Jay-Z’s upcoming album, Magna Carta Holy Grail, and will release the copies to Samsung Galaxy smartphone owners for free on July 4 — three days before the official release of the album to the public. Experts posit that for Samsung’s part, the promotion helps them compete against Apple’s iTunes Radio, which promises access to certain albums before they are publicly released, and also builds brand awareness for future smartphone purchases. (The average person buys a new phone every two years.) For Jay-Z, he benefits from the broad reach of Samsung’s marketing and also gets an immediate pay off — Samsung is rumored to have paid $5 per copy of the album — before the album is even officially released.
There is no word whether Nielson Soundscan will count the copies in its tracking of purchases, nor is it clear whether the album will become instant “platinum” through the RIAA’s awards.
“Music, increasingly, has to be part of a broader strategy,” said Benedict Evans of Enders Analysis in an article on Bloomberg Businessweek.com. “It’s tough to make it work as a stand-alone business.”