Jay Z and Samsung: A New High For Music Marketing?

Jay Z’s Magna Carta… Holy Grail is now blasting in all its glory through the homes, cars, and earbuds of millions. With sales at over 527,000 copies and streams at almost 14 million in the first week, there’s no doubt that Hova’s brand is stronger than ever. He worked heavily with Samsung in the marketing of the album, and we’re anxious to take a closer look at this partnership and its results.

The venture was undoubtedly a strategic and mutually beneficial one. Jay Z worked with Samsung on a Galaxy-only app that would allow complimentary copies of the album to be distributed days before the official release to the first one million users who downloaded it, ideally fostering strong album promotion while putting Samsung phones in the spotlight. Unfortunately, the high volume of response overwhelmed the program and caused system errors that prevented many from receiving their download, resulting in many frustrated fans. “There’s no way in the world for you to calculate 20 million hits,” says Jay Z. “You cannot prepare a service for that.” He maintains that instant distribution is the future of the music business, and that it will become increasingly more polished as more artists experiment with it.

Despite this unfortunate marketing mishap, the Hova/Samsung team utilized some strategic social media savvy to promote the album through other outlets as well. A series of Magna Carta “behind the scenes” promo videos were released on Samsung Mobile USA’s official YouTube channel with staggering results – well over 50 million views were recorded, translating to a whopping 324% increase from the month prior. Jay Z also utilized Twitter the day before the official release for a Q&A session with his fans, resulting in over 70,000 new followers, more than 300,000 mentions, and even a 9000% increase in re-tweets from the prior week.

The masses have been quick to criticise the marketing structure as a whole, mainly because of the flaws in the distribution app, including challenges with the download, album leaks, and alleged privacy violations, but overall it was a good showing from the partnership. The numbers speak for themselves – Jay Z now officially has the second highest selling record of the year after Justin Timberlake, and he blew Daft Punk’s 8 million streams out of the water with his 14 million.

Samsung has seen an impressive raise in numbers as well – social media followers, stock market value, you name it – plus making headlines aside a music mogul with an already overwhelmingly strong brand doesn’t hurt. Let’s be real… Magna Carta was destined to do great things with or without brilliant marketing. But thumbs up on this partnership, Samsung. Regardless of roadblocks, if Jay Z is saying your brand is where it’s at, odds are millions of consumers are going to be nodding along in agreement.

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