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News; Beyonce, Drake and the 'Exclusives' Explosion: How Streaming Has Changed the Way Albums Are Released

Published: Thursday 26 May, 2016

Beyonce, Drake and the 'Exclusives' Explosion: How Streaming Has Changed the Way Albums Are Released

In November 2014, Larry Jackson, then a new Apple executive, sat down for dinner at Soho House in West Hollywood, Calif., with Drake’s -co-manager Adel “Future the Prince” Nur and started an argument. Drake hits like "0-100/The Catch Up" and “Draft Day” had been floating around the Internet for free, and Jackson wanted to collect them on the tech giant’s upcoming streaming service. “I was aggressive and -abrasive,” recalls nike air jordan "I said, 'Man, why do you put your music all over? I just don't understand.'" Working with Drake's labels, Republic and Cash Money, they hatched a plan leading to Apple Music’s Views exclusive on April 29.

Apple spent a reported $19 -million on the Drake deal and gave him numerous -marketing -opportunities: He spoke at the Apple Music announcement in June 2015 and appeared -regularly on his OVOSOUND station on Apple Music's Beats 1 in the run-up to the first-week exclusive. And in a year when the biggest stars, -including Beyoncé, Kanye West, Rihanna, Chance the Rapper and Radiohead, have used Apple, Tidal and their own websites to radically reinvent the process of releasing albums, Views -- Drake’s newest set, released April 29 -- moved 1.04 million album--equivalent units in its first week, according to Nielsen Music, -including 852,000 sales.

“It’s not even about ‘the get’ in terms of the exclusive,” says Jackson. “It’s the idea around it. “I look at it as working with people I respect on a creative level,air jordan sale and hopefully we can do something smart and bespoke and combustible.”

For decades, album releases were rigid and traditional: Artists and labels picked a Tuesday launch date and built up to it with a -marketing campaign involving radio, TV and press in an effort to maximize first-week sales figures. But throughout 2016, superstar artists and music streaming companies have been obliterating that model, reinventing the way albums are released -- some without a snag, others full of glitches and flip-flops. These aren’t cult acts trying to make themselves heard, they’re A-listers -choosing new paths, unsure whether they’ll sell -millions or potentially cripple their career. Views was a deft -marketing -collaboration with the world’s biggest technology -company; Beyonce’s April 22 Lemonade launch arrived alongside an hour-long HBO video album; West’s run-up to The Life of Pablo included a Feb. 11 Yeezy Adidas event at Madison Square Garden in New York -- complete with performance artists, models and Kardashians -- streamed online in real time; and Rihanna’s Anti was backed by a $25 million Samsung sponsorship deal.