Leave it to Jay-Z to sell a million copies of a new album even before he announces its existence to the world.
The rapper and mogul debuted the news of a new LP, “Magna Carta Holy Grail,” in a commercial during Game 5 of the NBA finals Sunday. The clip showed him trying on beats with producers such as Rick Rubin and Pharrell Williams and talking new business models. Indeed, “Magna Carta” comes with a novel one for its July release.
The electronics company Samsung reportedly pre-bought the first million copies of the album, which it will distribute free to users who sign up June 24 for a specialized app for its Galaxy phones and tablets, with the album landing July 4. The Wall Street Journal reports that the company paid $5 per advance copy, giving Jay a considerable payday for an album no one outside his circle had even heard of.
The album gets a traditional release three days later.
The release strategy comes at a potent time for Jay and for the intersection of music and tech. News of the album comes just days after the new album by his “Watch the Throne” partner Kanye West was leaked ahead of its Tuesday release date, and days after Samsung rival Apple announced iTunes Radio, a streaming service that will also offer exclusive advance tracks.
One detail still being hashed out — whether these corporate pre-sales will count toward the Soundscan tally for “Magna Carta Holy Grail.” The sales-tracking service has recently tweaked its rules to prevent fire sale price cuts of albums at online retailers such as Amazon to guarantee higher sales figures.