Last week there were reports that rap mogul Jay Z signed a $20 million endorsement deal with electronics giant Samsung to promote their Samsung Galaxy smartphones. The rumors were confirmed just days later when Jay Z posted a photo of a Samsung smartphone on his personal blog, Life+Times, and on Twitter.com asking his fans to tune in to game 5 of the NBA Finals for a special announcement at 9:15 p.m. Sunday.
The special announcement concerned the July 4 release of his upcoming album, titled Magna Carta Holy Grail, which he delivered via a strange 3-minute video that aired after the 2nd quarter of the hotly contested NBA Final matchup between defending champion Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday night.
The video, which you can view below, shows Jay Z laying tracks in the studio with Def Jam founder and Columbia Records President Rick Rubin and music producer Pharrell Williams.
Upscalehype.com points out that, in the video, Jigga is seen wearing a grey Surface to Air “Go Home!” sweatshirt which retails for $170.
Two minutes into the video, Samsung’s logo along with the words “The Next Big Thing” flashes across the screen.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Samsung went all out to woo the former Marcy Projects crack dealer by buying 1 million copies of Jay Z’s albums.
Samsung plans to give away the albums for free to Samsung Galaxy users 72 hours in advance of the album’s release date. Users will be able to download the album through an app that they will receive next month. But users won’t be able to share the album until July 4.
The Samsung/Jay Z partnership is certain to tighten the competition between Samsung and Apple Inc., which recently announced the launch of iTunes Radio, a music streaming app which will come bundled with Apple smartphones.
Shares of Apple stock plummeted 57% (from $705 in Dec. 2011 to $403 in April 2103), amid concerns that slow iPhone and iPad sales would affect Apple’s quarterly earnings report in March 2013.
It isn’t immediately clear if Samsung’s unprecedented purchase of 1 million advance copies of Jay Z’s album will be tallied in with the total first week sales — or if the advance purchases are even legal. But what is clear is that Jay Z will rake in a quick $5 million bucks off the advance sales.
It is a well known secret within the music industry that certain well-to-do artists buy up mass quantities of their own albums to boost their first week sales figures. There are rumors that Jay Z’s wife Beyonce (or someone in her camp) purchased 300,000 copies of her 4th studio album, titled 4, in advance of its release date in June 2011. 4 went on to sell 310,000 copies in the first week.