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Jay-Z album available to Samsung users today

Album release dates are quickly going the way of 8-tracks and B-sides, something music buyers will remember being important once upon a time. While Jay-Z’s forthcoming album Magna Carta Holy Grail isn’t set to hit stores worldwide until July 9, Samsung Galaxy smartphone customers who downloaded a specially tailored app were permitted to purchase it as of 12:01 a.m. ET today.

Jay-Z effectively leaked his own album and got paid to do so by the electronics giant, who agreed to pre-purchase the one million copies that were distributed free to the first million people to download the app. This savvy marketing maneuver essentially meant that Magna Carta Holy Grail went platinum days before its official release.

Jay-Z inspires RIAA to change certification stance

Even though we have yet to hear note one from Jay-Z’s new album Magna Carta Holy Grail, it’s already become one of the most controversial albums of 2013 — at least from a business standpoint.

Starting this Thursday, July 4, owners of Samsung phones will get first crack at Magna Carta Holy Grail. The first one million Samsung users will be claiming their free copies of the album, which led to an interesting question: Does that mean that Magna Carta Holy Grail is already platinum, even though it’s not even on sale yet?

The definitive answer is: yes and no. Yesterday, the RIAA announced that it will start counting digital sales towards Gold and Platinum certification right away, rather than wait the traditional 30 days after an album’s release. The old rule was in place to account for returns on unsold merchandise (Gold and Platinum certifications are based on copies shipped to stores, not copies sold). But because you can’t return an iTunes download, the organization has decided to amend its policy—just in time to certify Magna Carta Holy Grail.

“Not only do we believe it’s sensible and logical to align digital album rules with those we have maintained for digital singles since the program’s inception, we also consider today’s move in line with our larger efforts to modernize the G&P Program to reflect the new music marketplace,” the RIAA’s Liz Kennedy said in a press release. “The reality is that how fans consume music is changing, the music business is changing as labels and artists partner with a breathtaking array of new technology services, and the industry’s premier award recognizing artists’ commercial achievement should similarly keep pace.”

Since Samsung already pre-purchased one million digital downloads of Magna Carta Holy Grail, it will be eligible for platinum certification immediately. However, the chart-keepers at Billboard will still not be recognizing those sales of the album on its weekly charts. READ FULL STORY

Jay-Z reveals 'Magna Carta Holy Grail' track list via Brooklyn scavenger hunt

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Remember the days when an artist recorded an album, and then released that album in a store so that people could buy and hear that album?

Those days are long gone. In 2013, Jay-Z is rewriting the book on releases, dropping his new Magna Carta Holy Grail with only a few weeks notice and putting it out through a deal with Samsung that will allow Samsung phone owners to download an app and hear it all for free a full three days before it actually goes on sale.

And rather than simply announce, “Here are the various song titles, guests, and collaborators who may be appearing on my new, ridiculously-named album,” Jigga decided to send his fans on a scavenger hunt through Brooklyn on Saturday in order to unlock his 12th solo album’s tracklist.

The clues led to a series of binders that revealed all of the songs on Magna Carta Holy Grail, though none of the guests or production notes were included. The fan who found the binder was kind enough to record a quick video of the binder, which you can watch below:

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Jay-Z announces new album ... in a cell phone ad -- VIDEO

Jay-Z has taken branding to a whole new level, announcing his new album in a cell phone commercial.

Magna Carta Holy Grail, Jay’s first album since teaming up with Kanye West for Watch the Throne, arrives July 4, according to a three-minute Samsung spot that aired during Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Sunday night. As a tie-in to the album’s release, the first million Samsung Galaxy users to download a special mobile app will unlock the disc 72 hours early.

Check out the ad — featuring basically every relevant hip-hop producer there is (Pharrell Williams, Timbaland, Rick Rubin and Swizz Beatz) in the studio with Jay — below:
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NPR is streaming the 'Gatsby' soundtrack: What's worth talking about

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Stop whatever you are doing and listen to The Great Gatsby soundtrack, which is streaming in full over at NPR days before its May 7 release. The album arrives pre-buzzed, thanks to behind-the-scenes work from Jay-Z and a series of tracks from a series of high-wattage artists such as Florence + The Machine, Beyoncé, Fergie, and Jack White.

What results is very good (Lana) and very bad (Florence) and very, very interesting, as is the nature of projects that overflow with talented people all working at once. Also: very period. If you didn’t know the movie is set almost 100 years ago, the soundtrack shouts it out at you, all honking brass and a preference for tempos that slide up the scale like liquor, getting hot just as they hit the chorus. It’s Baz Luhrmann’s costume party-version of the ’20s. But it’s fun! Also sad! (People have a way of dying in Gatsby.) Talking points from the 14-track soundtrack:

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Jay-Z writes open letter exiting Brooklyn Nets organization

Remember when Jay-Z was just a guy who rapped about money and women, and his only business ventures were the stillborn careers of Amil and Freeway? Now he’s a major mogul letting the world know how he plans on making his next few millions.

In an open letter posted on his website, the man born Shawn Carter announced that he is officially selling off his tiny ownership stake in the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets in order to fully (and legally) ensconce himself as a sports agent overseeing the newly-minted Roc Nation Sports. NBA rules prohibit team owners from carrying agent licenses, which is why Jigga had to cash out on his stake (which amounted to roughly one fiftieth of one percent). READ FULL STORY

Beyonce and Jay-Z are a billion-dollar couple, probably

How much money are Beyoncé and Jay-Z worth, really?

The answer: $1 billion dollars, according to the International Business Times, with a caveat or three. These are rough figures, and that worth is cumulative, not that they make that much all at once — but it’s grounded in a lot of evidence that the couple makes a lot of money.

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Listen to Jay-Z's 'The Great Gatsby' soundtrack sampler, featuring Fergie, Lana Del Rey, Jack White and more

No matter how The Great Gatsby does at the box office when it finally arrives in theaters next month, it’s eclectic, star-studded soundtrack is already a newsmaker.

Curated by Jay-Z, the Gatsby soundtrack includes tracks by Jay himself, Beyoncé, Jack White, Fergie, Sia, Lana Del Rey, the xx and more. Twelve of the 14 total core tracks are currently available in snippet form on YouTube, which you can stream below.

Highlights include Florence Welch wailing on the track “Over the Love” and the swing version of Beyoncé’s “Crazy in Love” delivered by Emeli Sandé.

There’s also the already-released “A Little Party Never Killed Nobody” by Fergie, Q-Tip, and GoonRock, which must be ironically titled given the fate of one Gatsby‘s main characters.

Listen to these, as well as Jack White’s cover of U2’s “Love Is Blindness” (as featured in the trailer to the film), a spin below: READ FULL STORY

Jay-Z addresses Cuba controversy on new track 'Open Letter': Hear it here!

Some businessmen issue press releases when their names show up in controversial headlines. Jay-Z, on the other hand, just calls some friends and drops a sonic note on Soundcloud.

In light of the recent chatter surrounding his sports agency ventures, Roc Nation’s recently-announced deal with Universal, and his vacation in Cuba, Jay-Z recorded and dropped the new track “Open Letter.” Produced by Timbaland and Swizz Beatz, the brief tune showed up on Jigga’s Life + Times website last night.

“Wanna give me jail time and a fine/ Fine, let me commit a real crime,” Jay raps on the song, shouting down those politicians questioning the legality of Jay’s island getaway to the communist country. Give the track a spin below. READ FULL STORY

Beyonce, Nine Inch Nails to headline Made In America Festival

Beyonce and Nine Inch Nails will headline the second annual Made In America Festival, organizers announced Wednesday, via an official playlist on Spotify.

The Budweiser-sponsored festival returns to Philadelphia Labor Day weekend (Aug. 31 and Sept. 1). This year’s lineup was once again curated by Jay-Z, though he is not set to return to the festival as a performer after headlining last year’s event with Kanye West.

Queens of the Stone Age, Imagine Dragons, Wiz Khalifa, Kendrick Lamar, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, and Public Enemy will also perform.

It’s going to be a very busy summer for both Beyonce and Nine Inch Nails. In addition to Made In America, Queen Bey is set to headline July’s Essence Festival in New Orleans, while NIN will rock the main stage at Chicago’s Lollapalooza in early-August. Beyonce also kicks off her 65-date world arena tour, dubbed The Mrs. Carter Show, on April 15 in Belgrade, Serbia.

The eclectic lineup features artists from the worlds of hip-hop, rock and EDM. Check out the full roster of performers below.

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