Update 2, 12/16 10 am: iTunes has just confirmed sales of 828,773 units (US + UK) after just three days (we’ll await further data from the source). That’s an iTunes Store record (the iTunes Music Store started in 2003). It also easily beats Beyonce’s entire first-week performance on her last album, 4, by a factor of nearly 3X. The original story, which first appeared Friday morning, follows:
Sorry to anyone else who was looking to get iTunes Store visibility…
Some opt for multi-million dollar promo campaigns, but Beyoncé is letting hype do the job. Part one of her self-titled visual album silently went up on iTunes early Friday morning. Beyonce blasted the release to her followers on platforms like Instagram and Twitter, part of a campaign that focused on direct-to-fan alerts but little else.
Each track on the album has been released as a music video; there are 14 songs and 17 videos in total. These videos are exclusive to iTunes and are only available as an album purchase for $15.99. Individual songs will be available late December.
In a video posted on Facebook Beyoncé said:
“I feel like right now people experience music differently. I remember seeing Thriller on TV with my family. It was an event. We all sat around the TV and now looking back I’m so lucky I was born around that time. I miss that immersive experience.
Now people only listen to a few segments of a song on their iPods, they don’t really invest in a whole album. It’s all about the single and the hype. It’s so much that gets between the music and the artist and the fans.”
Beyoncé isn’t the first contemporary artist to tackle the visual album. However, her popularity could set a trend of more immersive album experiences and bundled releases. It may also encourage other artists to window their album releases, a strategy that typically leaves streaming platforms like Spotify waiting.