Jay-Z Announces Plans For New Album, ‘Magna Carta Holy Grail’

Jay z 2013

During the 2nd quarter of the 5th game of this year’s NBA Finals, an unexpected commercial aired, taking hip-hop fans and the world alike by surprise.

Featuring Jay-Z and a slew of industry giants such as Pharrell Williams, Rick RubinSwizz Beatz, and Timbaland, the commercial was most obviously a behind the scenes look at Hov’s latest project. A project in the form of an album titled Magna Carta Holy Grail.

On July 4, 2013, barely over 2 weeks from now, 1 million copies of the album will be available for free on an app exclusive to Samsung Galaxy smartphone users. This means consumers have 17 days to purchase a Samsung device to opt in for the deal and that Jay-Z has already sold 1 million copies of his still unreleased record. According to the Wall Street Journal, Samsung paid $5 per copy. That’s $5 Million for those who don’t have enough fingers and toes to count that high.

The album has a 12:01 AM release on Samsung phones on July 4. Those fans without access to the free album will be able to purchase the record after a 72 hour wait.

Apart from recording the album for a Fall Out Boy/Timberlake-like surprise, the Magna Carta Holy Grail release plan is quite unique in that a major recording artist is selling records to a technology company in partnership so that fans can have it for free. Much like a video game publisher’s deal with Sony, Nintendo, or Microsoft, this puts content into the hands of a selection of fans, leaving those with competing devices out.

Competition, historically, hasn’t played much of a role in music as far as sales go. For example, if a fan wants two albums that are released on one day, they may choose to buy only one at first, but it’s likely they will purchase the second later. Jay and Samsung’s deal, however puts an interesting spin on things. One we’re eager to see play out.

Will this set a new precedent for how large-scale recording artists make their dollar? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.


Jacob Tender

Jacob is a freelance writer who calls curbside.audio home. He is also the co-host of the Bantha Fodder podcast and helps UTG with technical and financial nonsense.
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