20 Different Ways to Release an Album: From Beyonce to Frank Ocean to U2 & Beyond

September 1, 2016 - Finding Carter

Over a final few years, a strain industry’s long-untouched proceed to releasing albums has been usually chopped to pieces by swap placement methods, and artists anticipating ingenious ways to mishandle a normal manuscript rollout.

Whether it’s a warn album, a disdainful release, a code partnership, a windowed rollout, or any mixed of a 3 — or even surprises around snail mail — here are 20 innovative album releases from a past 3 years. 

From Beyonce to Frank Ocean, Breaking Down a Mechanics, and Politics, Behind Streaming Exclusives

The Justin Timberlake
Album: The 20/20 Experience Pts. we and II
Release Date: Mar 15, 2013; Sept. 27, 2013
Strategy: It had been some-more than 6 years given Timberlake put out an manuscript when he expelled lead singular “Suit Tie” featuring Jay Z in Jan of 2013, and after an extended and successful incursion into acting, fans were prepared for his return. Accordingly, a initial of a dual albums debuted during No. 1 on a Billboard 200, offered 968,000 copies in a initial week, a tip sales week of 2013. Shortly following he announced a messenger second side, expelled roughly accurately 6 weeks later, with a double-packaged The 20/20 Experience – The Complete Experience nearing on a same day. Timberlake wasn’t a initial to separate albums in half, yet his was a remarkably successful effort.

The Jay Z
Magna Carta…Holy Grail
Release Date: Jul 4, 2013
Strategy: No foreigner to changing a game, Jay Z partnered with Samsung in a understanding value a reported $20 million to recover his 12th solo studio manuscript on a 4th of July, delivering digital downloads to a initial one million Samsung Galaxy phone owners who downloaded a tradition app on release. Jay claimed that finished MCHG a gold manuscript overnight, observant that Samsung purchased any duplicate for $5, and a RIAA concluded — yet Billboard‘s charts dialect did not, arguing that sales count when people buy a albums, not corporations. Regardless, when it became accessible for sale on Jul 7, fans still bought it in droves, and MCHG became Hov’s 13th No. 1 manuscript on a Billboard 200 (including collaborative projects with R. Kelly, Linkin Park and Kanye West), offered 528,000 copies in a initial week.

The Beyonce, Part I
Release Date: Dec. 13, 2013
Strategy: When people speak about a “surprise album” recover plan these days, Beyonce’s self-titled fifth solo manuscript is generally hold adult as a prototype. Conceived, accessible and filmed (individual videos for all 14 songs, as good as 3 additional videos, were finished accessible on release) in secret, Beyonce held fans and a attention by warn when she expelled a manuscript — right in a center of her Mrs. Carter Show World Tour, no reduction — exclusively around a iTunes Store yet even any denote she had been operative on one during all. Beyonce debuted atop a Billboard 200 with 617,000 copies sold, notwithstanding a fact it had usually been accessible for 3 days of a tracking week, and set in suit a trend that permeated recover strategies ever since.

The U2
Album: Songs of Innocence
Release Date: Sept. 9, 2014
Strategy: Long compared with Apple’s iconic iPod ads in a mid-2000s, U2 partnered with a association to recover Songs of Innocence directly to iPhone users’ iTunes libraries, with their singular “The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone)” a soundtrack to a media debate reportedly valued during $100 million. The unusual recover finished a manuscript accessible to 500 million people worldwide for free, with Apple announcing that 81 million people “experienced” a manuscript in a initial month of availability. The recover was positively effective in terms of scale and revenue, yet retailers — left in a dim as Apple flexed a five-week disdainful window — and fans were reduction than pleased. A month later, Bono apologized, saying, “I had this pleasing thought and we got carried divided with ourselves.”

The Global Listening Event
What a Time to Be Alive
Release Date: Sept. 20, 2015
Strategy: Drake and Future’s What a Time to Be Alive album/mixtape had so many hum that fans were formulating independent web sites with countdowns that led to nothing, all designed to gain on a hectic hype of a dual hottest rappers in a diversion during a impulse putting out a full-length corner project. But what Drake did was use his OVO Sound radio to entrance a record in a entirety — a initial time he would implement that sold height to emanate what he called a “global listening event” (DJ Khaled and others would use a same formula). The manuscript became accessible immediately after a uncover finished as an Apple exclusive, and shot true to No. 1 on a Billboard 200 — a second No. 1 manuscript of 2015 for any artist.

Frank Ocean’s Album Is a Straw that Broke Universal Music’s Back (and It May Get Him Sued)

The Eric Church
Album: Mr. Misunderstood
Release Date: Nov. 3, 2015
Strategy: Technology, digital, streaming, downloads, exclusives — there have been a lot of hum difference drifting around a strain attention in new years as everybody races to acquire a subsequent new trend. But afterwards came Nov. 3, when members of Eric Church’s fan bar non-stop their common mailboxes to find a code new manuscript — a earthy CD, no less! — delivered directly to them with no before warning. A bit of sell disguise that occurred forward of time left some stores in a dim and others confused, while a manuscript was marketed as an iTunes digital download disdainful for a initial 7 days before creation a approach to streaming services.

The Adele
Album: 25
Release Date: Nov. 20, 2015
Strategy: With streaming expenditure flourishing some-more widespread by a week, many artists would find it risky to cut out a height when releasing an album. But Adele is not many artists. Withholding a new manuscript from streaming services is not accurately a novel tactic — Adele did it for her final album, 21, as did Taylor Swift, Coldplay and others — yet it positively helped a British thespian break a 15-year-old record for many sales in a singular week with 3.38 million copies in a initial 7 days after a release. This June, 7 months after 25 his shelves, Adele finally expelled a manuscript to streaming services, that soon propelled it behind into a tip 10 of a Billboard 200.

The David Bowie
Album: Blackstar
Release Date: Jan. 8, 2016
Strategy: In life, there’s usually one unequivocally final hurrah, and it can be formidable to get right. But not for David Bowie. Having dim his cancer from all yet a few tighten acquaintances, he suggested a creepy, auspicious video for lead singular “Lazarus” on Jan. 7, in that he sings of being in sky while strapped to a sanatorium bed. Three days later, a mythological artist was dead, withdrawal behind a final goodbye for fans that desired him worldwide. It competence not have been an innovative recover strategy, per se, yet we won’t find many imitators — that’s for sure.

The Rihanna
Album: Anti
Release Date: Jan. 29, 2016
Strategy: Taking a root from Jay Z’s book, Rihanna partnered with Samsung for a recover of her long-awaited Anti manuscript in a understanding that, all resources included, was rumored to be value $25 million. That enclosed a sponsorship for her universe debate as good as an eight-part interactive “diary,” radically an app that authorised fans to try opposite practical bedrooms that were unbarred over Nov and Dec of 2015. Album delays left fans unresolved after a final room opened, however, until a finish of Jan when her singular “Work” featuring Drake finally emerged on radio. Anti was expelled a night of Jan. 27 as a Tidal streaming and download disdainful — a many high-profile disdainful for a use to that indicate — and as a giveaway download for one million Samsung users bundled with a giveaway 60-day hearing of Tidal, nonetheless an early trickle injured a rollout. It was expelled widely to digital distributors on Jan. 29, yet a ungainly timing of a recover meant Anti primarily debuted during No. 27 on a Billboard 200 formed on usually a initial day of availability, before it soared to a limit a following week.

The Kanye West
The Life of Pablo
Release Date: Feb. 14, 2016
Strategy: “Unprecedented” competence be a bit of an understatement for a strangest manuscript rollout in new history. But Kanye is famous for pulling a envelope, and this time he kept pulling it even after Pablo had been released. West primarily premiered a manuscript during his Yeezy 3 conform uncover on Feb. 11, live-streamed both on Tidal and during film theaters opposite a universe (fans perceived a document for a digital download of a manuscript when purchasing tickets), even yet a manuscript still wasn’t done. Then, following his Feb. 14th entrance on Saturday Night Live, he finally expelled a album, primarily as an disdainful tide on Tidal and as a $20 download on his possess site, usually to mislay a download choice a brief time after since he was unfortunate with a masters. But Pablo remained streaming on Tidal for 6 weeks, even as West continued to tinker with a final mixes — tweaking production, adding lyrics and verses — and announced a manuscript would never be for sale. But on Apr 1, Pablo was expelled to all streaming services and digital retailers, and Pablo eventually became a first-ever manuscript to entrance atop a Billboard 200 albums draft with a infancy of a homogeneous manuscript units entrance from streams. (Tidal declined to news a streams to Nielsen Music in a 6 weeks prior.)

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The 1975
Album: I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It
Release Date: Feb. 26, 2016
Strategy: Playing favorites yet committing fully to one service, The 1975 debuted their latest manuscript — their initial No. 1 on a Billboard 200 — on paid subscription streaming services, rolling a bones by incompatible Spotify for a initial dual weeks of a release. That’s a plan that Coldplay and others have employed in a past, yet The 1975 combined a fold by stuffing their pockets with Apple money; in a week heading adult to a album’s release, they achieved a first-ever live eventuality put on by Apple’s Beats 1 Radio, an disdainful tide that debuted a night before a album’s release.

The Beyonce, Part II
Release Date: Apr 23, 2016
Strategy: “Formation” seemed on YouTube with no allege warning on Feb. 6, a day before Beyonce achieved a strain during her bomb Super Bowl Halftime Show set. The manuscript itself got a mysterious seven-day teaser trailer, earnest a “world premiere event” on HBO a night of Apr 23. What arrived that night was a 60-minute “visual album” with any of a project’s 12 marks soundtracking a film about betrayal, hurt, acceptance and redemption that HBO authorised viewers to watch for free, regardless of either they owned a subscription. The manuscript arrived that dusk after a premiere eventuality finished as a download and streaming disdainful on Tidal, before being expelled for sale to digital retailers 24 hours later, debuting atop a Billboard 200. Lemonade stays a Tidal disdainful for streaming, with a use observant a window will final “in perpetuity.”

The Drake
Release Date: Apr 29, 2016
Strategy: For an manuscript with such a long, drawn out build up, Views arrived in a shade of Beyonce’s Lemonade, expelled usually 6 days earlier. But led as it was by a beast pound “One Dance,” a attainment as an Apple disdainful cracked annals immediately — eventually, he would possess 4 of a tip 5 one-week streaming annals ever, notwithstanding being sectioned off into Apple Music for a initial dual weeks (though a singles were accessible on Spotify and others.) Drake is believed to have a closest attribute with Apple among all a artists it has finished deals with, and a selling pull behind a album’s recover — a debate sponsorship, iTunes takeovers, sponsored videos, OVO Sound Radio etc. — helped it turn a highest-selling manuscript expelled in 2016, and helped Drake sequence all summer ’16.

The Radiohead
Album: A Moon Shaped Pool
Release Date: May 8, 2016
Strategy: It began, in standard Radiohead fashion, with a mystery: on Apr 30, some fans perceived a prospectus in a mail with a phrase, “Burn a Witch,” and a following day a band’s website and amicable networks all went dark. Slowly, teaser videos and clues leaked out until May 3, when a stop suit animation video for a strain “Burn a Witch” strictly announced a new manuscript to be imminent, followed by a mid-day, 2 p.m. recover on Mother’s Day, no less. Pool was expelled right divided to digital retailers and paid subscription streaming services — aka, not Spotify — for a initial 6 weeks, until a rope eventually expelled it to Spotify Jun 17. The latest in a decade’s worth of artistic recover strategies for a group.

The Chance a Rapper
Album: Coloring Book
Release Date: May 12, 2016
Strategy: Not tied to a tag and dynamic to keep his strain free, Chance a Rapper cut a understanding with Apple Music to recover his third solo project, Coloring Book, as an disdainful tide for dual weeks with no download choice — a reprise of sorts to a understanding Apple gave his 2015 Donnie Trumpet and a Social Experiment plan Surf, that stays a usually manuscript “sold” for giveaway around a iTunes Store. As a result, Coloring Book became a first-ever manuscript to seem on a Billboard 200 draft formed on streams alone, debuting during No. 8 with 38,000 homogeneous manuscript units formed on 57.3 million first-week streams.

Inside Rihanna’s Long, Rocky Road to Releasing ‘Anti’

The Ariana Grande
Album: Dangerous Woman
Release Date: May 20, 2016
Strategy: Grande was active in a graduation plan in a buildup to this album, utilizing Instagram, Snapchat, TV performances and mixed web sites to assistance beget buzz. And while a manuscript was expelled widely on May 20 to all retailers and distributors, she used Apple Music to exclusively entrance a new strain from a LP each day in a 7 days heading adult to Dangerous Woman‘s release. In that way, she was means to precedence Apple’s disdainful offerings, while not really committing to an exclusive.

The Epic AF
Epic AF
Release Date: Jul 17, 2016
Strategy: Label compilations are zero new, while playlists will substantially never go away. But in a streaming world, Epic Records figured they could be one and a same, and finished a collection of singles disconnected to other projects together into a playlist, slapped a tag on it, called it an manuscript and landed a tip 10 entrance formed on streaming homogeneous and lane homogeneous albums only. Expect to see some-more labels go this track to fill otherwise-barren recover report periods.

The Frank Ocean
Album: Blond
Release Date: Aug. 20, 2016
Strategy: Disenchanted with his label, Def Jam, and seeking leisure from his recording contract, Ocean pulled a manoeuvre by delivering a visible manuscript Endless to his tag in sequence to perform his deal, profitable behind as many as $5 million, according to one source, to Universal Music for a uninformed slate. But a bigger, some-more startling scheme came a following day, when Ocean delivered a “real” manuscript — a 17-track recover patrician Blond — to Apple as a download and streaming disdainful around his possess label, Boys Don’t Cry, yet Def Jam or Universal’s involvement. It was a rare, confidant pierce — and it could feasible lead to a lawsuit. But some-more than that, it valid that for a certain form of top-tier artist with a clinging fan base, usually about anything is on a table.

The De La Soul
Album: And The Anonymous Nobody
Release Date: Aug. 26, 2016
Strategy: Hamstrung by digital copyright laws and incompetent to make income off their extravagantly successful behind catalog due to representation clearway issues, De La found themselves in a bit of what The New York Times called a “digital limbo,” and incited to their fans — around a successful Kickstarter debate — for help. The outcome is a group’s initial manuscript in over a decade, and a acquire lapse for one of a innovators of a genre.

The Jason Aldean
Album: They Don’t Know
Release Date: Sept. 9, 2016
Strategy: Long a proponent of satisfactory remuneration for a group of writers and producers that assistance him qualification his albums, Aldean has waffled in a past on his perspective of streaming services, stealing his final manuscript from Spotify in Nov 2014 usually to lapse it to a use a year after due to fan demand. But for his subsequent one, out in September, he’s perplexing to concede by self-denial it from all streaming services for one month, enlivening his fans to buy his manuscript before he creates it accessible as a stream. “If we wish something that’s code new, you’re peaceful to compensate a cost for it,” he told Billboard about a decision. “And then, after it’s been out for a while, we competence get it during a discount. That’s usually business 101.”

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