After a four-year hiatus between solo albums, Jay-Z announced the release of his next album “Magna Carta Holy Grail” in a Samsung advertisements that aired during Sunday night’s NBA playoffs and can be seen at YouTube. Running a little more than three minutes, the commercial shows Jay-Z in the studio with Pharrell and producer Rick Rubin, working on his next record, “Magna Carta Holy Grail,” set to debut in July.
“Magna Carta Holy Grail” is unique in several ways. For one thing, it is Jay-Z’s first record since his megapopular 2011 Kanye West collaboration “Watch the Throne.” For another, it will be released under a completely new distribution method. “Magna Carta Holy Grail” goes on sale to the general public July 7, but some fans have a chance to own the album a few days early, via Samsung.
On June 24, some cellphone owners will be able to download an app for the new album. The first million people to download the app will receive the album three days early on July 4. It’s unclear whether Samsung will release the “Magna Carta Holy Grail” app for iPhone, given the company’s longstanding legal feuds with Apple.
Although the album won’t be released until next month, “Magna Carta Holy Grail” is already a financial success because of the distribution deal with Samsung. According to the Wall Street Journal, Samsung paid Jay-Z $5 apiece for the first million copies of the record.
For those of you keeping track at home, that means Jay-Z has just made $5 million off an album weeks before its release date. As he has always said, Jay-Z is a business, man, and this bold new distribution method is another sure sign that Jay-Z is just as focused on business as he is on music.
It’s unclear whether Billboard or Nielson Soundscan will count the 1 million “Magna Carta Holy Grail” copies released through the Samsung app, but even if the first few copies go uncounted, it appears likely “Magna Carta Holy Grail” will rank high on the charts. And if it doesn’t, well, Jay-Z just earned a ton of money through his new distribution method, so it’s no problem for him.
Watch the “Magna Carta Holy Grail” trailer below: