If you were watching Game 5 of the NBA finals last night on ABC and stuck around during halftime, you saw a 3-minute ad spot from Jay-Z and Samsung that might've had you confused. What exactly where the duo planning? A full-on record release: Jay-Z's 12th solo studio album, one that'd be sent out to the first 1-million users of the Samsung-only app for owners of the Galaxy S III, Galaxy S 4, and Galaxy Note II for free.
In an effort to take the next step in this "wild west" of an internet, as Mr. Carter calls it, he's teamed up with Samsung to have them foot the bill for the first million copies of the album. Completely digital and downloaded for "free" to customers, this deal will be the first of its kind.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Jay-Z is being paid $5 per album for this first million albums straight from Samsung. That's the equivalent of having five million bucks worth of pre-orders dropped in the artist's lap - and since it's straight from Samsung to the artist, it's free and clear. Jay-Z is the CEO of his own record label "RocNation" so it's not all that unlikely that this deal will make Sean Carter an even richer man than he already is.
Samsung, on the other hand, has found themselves becoming part of a bigger world. Cementing the Samsung Mobile world in with not just a music service, but an actual album release by one of the world's most successful music artists - that's big.
The brand isn't messing around with this one. The closest any publication got to guessing what Samsung and Jay-Z were going to announce was tapping at the idea that they'd release a RocNation streaming music service. Instead they announced an album.
Unprecedented is the word here, folks - every record label head and A&R associate dropped their glasses of beer when they saw this deal announced. Things done changed.