Beyoncé releases latest album exclusively on iTunes

We all know that iTunes has a lot of power in the music world, and it’s had its share of exclusives over the years, but the newest release is bit different for Apple and Beyoncé. Nobody knew about the release beforehand.

For iTunes, this isn’t just an exclusive for digital downloads, this is a total exclusive. Manufacturing of the CD/DVD will begin today1, after the album has already been released on iTunes. I don’t believe something like that has ever been done before with an artist as popular as Beyoncé.

“I didn’t want to release my music the way I’ve done it,” said Beyoncé. “I am bored with that. I feel like I am able to speak directly to my fans. There’s so much that gets between the music, the artist and the fans. I felt like I didn’t want anybody to give the message when my record is coming out. I just want this to come out when it’s ready and from me to my fans.”

This is a big deal in the music world. For Beyoncé to release an album with no leaks to the public is almost unheard-of in modern times. With the successful release, Beyoncé got what she wanted, and Apple gained a lot of trust from the world’s elite artists.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see a lot of other artists take this route in the future.

  1. The CD/DVD copies will be in retail in time for the holidays. 

  • Odi Kosmatos

    If it turns out to be profitable, then yes, a lot of other artists will try this route.

    • If other artists care about secrecy and fans not hearing unfinished low quality tracks, they may try this route.

      Obviously this is unique every artists record company contract, but It would be interesting to see if artists, on average, have a better or worse financial incentive for digital album sales.

      • Odi Kosmatos

        I wasn’t aware this was unfinished, low quality material. If that’s the case, maybe. If you are referring to the use of AAC 256, though, you have already lost. Nobody gives a shit about using Flac or Apple Lossless audio codecs, except you, me and that other audiophile.

        • Brian Mauter

          Hey Odi, I think DigitizedSociety was suggesting that the old way results in more unfinished low quality material. Filler tracks, anyone? I imagine that some artists are striving to meet a deadline set by the label. If you go the digital route, then maybe you can release the album when you’re ready, not on some arbitrary date. Good on Beyonce.

  • Sammy

    In the discussion on NPR, she commented about having a video album, as this one has videos for every song? She referenced MJ’s Thriller video.

  • jcgarza

    Canadian band Stars released “In Our Bedroom After the War” on iTunes just a few days after they finished mastering it, and 3 months before the CD came out. This was back in 2007. Back then, I thought that would be “the future”, but even they never did that again. I vaguely recall hearing a few months later that the album had collected $100,000 on iTunes, but I don’t know if that’s what they got, or if that was total sales. (Or if that number is even true…)