Hype-free sur­prise re­lease blazes win­ning trail online

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - GOODMUSIC -

NEW YORK: Bey­once’s sur­prise al­bum has sold sur­pris­ingly well: with more than 600 000 units gone in its first three days, set­ting a record for first-week do­mes­tic dig­i­tal sales.

The self-ti­tled al­bum was re­leased ex­clu­sively on iTunes just over a week ago, un­be­known to the pub­lic.

Ap­ple said Mon­day that the al­bum sold 617 213 in its US iTunes Store. It sold 828 773 in­ter­na­tion­ally. “You have to be in­no­va­tive. The in­ter­net has changed the game. You’ve got to look at how to ad­dress the fact that most artists’ al­bums leak be­fore their re­lease plans,” said Lee Anne Cal­la­han-Longo, the gen­eral man­ager of Bey­once’s pro­duc­tion com­pany Park­wood En­ter­tain­ment, who re­leased the al­bum along­side Columbia Records.

“We had a mul­ti­tude of things we were try­ing to ac­com­plish, some things we were try­ing to avoid, and this turned out to be the right per­fect plan for us.”

Bey­once sur­prised fans with the re­lease of the al­bum, which fea­tures 14 songs and 17 videos. In three hours, it sold 80 000 units, and the build-up con­tin­ued over the weekend.

Bey­once fea­tures col­lab­o­ra­tions with Jay Z, Drake, Frank Ocean and Justin Timberlake, who co-wrote two songs. The al­bum was sold by iTunes ex­clu­sively for a week and hits re­tail­ers and oth­ers web­sites this week.

“It wasn’t easy and we were re­ally care­ful,” Cal­la­han- Longo said of keep­ing the al­bum a se­cret. “It started with a very small core group of peo­ple and only grew when nec­es­sary in or­der to make some­thing hap­pen.

“It got a lit­tle dicey as we got closer and closer as the cir­cle had to widen.”

Bey­once not only broke the first­week dig­i­tal sales record for an al­bum in the US, it also marks the singer’s best first-week num­bers.

It will de­but at No. 1 on Bill­board’s Top 200 al­bums chart this week. – Sapa-AP

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