Putting aside my general like for his music, Jay-Z always amazes me with his moves as a business man and marketer. I’ve enjoyed watching the choices he makes and seeing how they all seem to pay off magnificently for him. And that was before marrying Beyoncé!
When I first heard about his agreement with Samsung – to give 1M digital copies of his new album for free to Galaxy users – I immediately wondered, “What’s in it for Jay?”
It turns out Samsung bought those 1M copies of his album for $5.00 a pop. So, before he even releases his album to the general public, he will have made $5,000,000.00. Now, I realize that producing an album, making commercials and all of that costs money, so I’m just talking pre-overhead figures here.
But the mind-blowing doesn’t end there.
Once Samsung Galaxy users are able to start downloading their digital copy of Magna Carta Holy Grail, the rest of the world has to wait a whole 72 hours. If you’re a big Jay-Z fan, spending those 72 hours will be agonizing and filled with reading reviews and hearing your friends talk about how great the album is, which will only build your anticipation. I’m sure more than a few people who wouldn’t normally buy his album will end up picking up a copy of it on the official release day. Word of mouth is the most powerful form of advertising, and Jay-Z is cashing in on it big time.
This was such a bold business decision that it has caused the RIAA to change their rules for how they calculate album sales, which, in theory, will make his newest album certified Platinum on the day it gets released to 1,000,000 people who don’t have to pay for it out of their own pocket:
Digital sales of an album will now count toward the certification requirements beginning on the album’s release date — instead of the 30-day wait time that was initially instituted to accurately tally physical sales (CDs, cassettes, vinyl and other formats).
The RIAA admits Jay-Z’s marketing stunt with Samsung for the July 4 release of Magna Carta Holy Grail influenced the rule change.
On the surface it seems like Jay-Z is doing something rather simple, but when you take a step back and look at the ripple effects of this move, it’s really quite brilliant.