Jay-Z, Samsung Team Up for Deal to Cross-Promote New Album, Smartphone


Jay-Z has already sold one million copies of his yet-to-be-released new album, Magna Carta Holy Grail, which isn’t available to the public until July 7th.

The canny entrepreneur has spun a deal with Samsung so that the first million owners of Samsung’s Galaxy S3, Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 2 can download the free Magna Carta app from the Google Play store, which will give them exclusive access to the new album for free starting July 4th. The unique pair-up was announced during a commercial break at game 5 of the NBA Finals that included a player watching the announcement video in real-time on his Samsung device. 

“This is a smart strategy on Samsung’s part. Big fans of Jay-Z’s might be tempted to make the Galaxy S4 or Galaxy Note 2 their next phone due to the promotion, while Samsung fans get a free new album to rock on their phones,” notes VentureBeat.[more]

Samsung paid $5 apiece for the albums, giving Jay-Z $5 million in advance sales and plenty of market buzz. So it’s paying off for Hova, but will it pay off for Samsung? As Bloomberg Businessweek commented,

People primarily buy smartphones about once every two years on regimented schedules, so Samsung isn’t going to drive many sales from this specific promotion. Instead, it’s hoping that the next time someone’s contract is up, she’ll remember that Jay-Z exclusives are the kind of thing she can expect to hold over her iPhone-toting friends if she buys a Galaxy phone.

The deal also demonstrates the changing face of the music industry as it continues to adapt to a world where physical sales have tanked, and digital is the new frontier. As for the spot itself, “It was a strange ad detailing nothing in particular—just Jay-Z in a studio, hanging out with Rick Rubin and Pharrell, as well as some not-so-inconspicuous product placement for a Samsung tablet for a solid three minutes before we ever learned that it was an ad,” notes Bleacher Report. 

The new move isn’t one that is far from the Grammy-winning rapper’s innovative ways, as he recently launched his own sports agency, Roc Nation Sports, which has recruited major athletes like Kevin Durant and Robinson Cano. Entrepreneurialism also runs in the family, of course — consider Beyonce’s landmark partnership with Pepsi, which was (reportedly) valued at $50 million when announced last year.