This was an interesting week to be a geek and a Jay-Z fan. Not only did he release his new album Magna Carta…Holy Grail (the artwork for which was available as a preview at Salisbury Cathedral) but he also got involved in a couple of stories of more interest to the tech blogs than the hip hop ones.
First up the album was released for free as an app to Samsung phone customers in the US (well if you had one of their recent phones anyway). Samsung paid Hova $5million for the privilege but on release the app was roundly condemned as some kind of dodgy data grab tool as it required considerable access to phone settings – more it seems than anyone thought was reasonable. It is clear someone (either Jay or Samsung) had the intention to make use of all this data they were sucking in and as everyone knows these days data = money. All in all the scandal somewhat outshone the release in some places.
Not surprisingly as well the early release led to a flood of copies of the app hitting the torrent sites as people quickly cracked the DRM and started sharing.
On a more positive note Jay Z created a bit of a storm on Twitter this week when with no pre-announcement, nor hashtag and no publicity he just started to interact with his followers on Twitter. Like a lot of celebs his official account @S_C_ has been pretty much a one way channel ran by his public relations people but for seven hours on July 8th he genuinely got involved tweeting 169 times with a mix of replies, RTs, chats with fans and with other celebs. There was no way this was a spontaneous act – Jay-Z is nothing if not a shrewd businessman and things would have been planned to the last detail (just getting that big a free window of time the week of a new album dropping would have taken considerable effort) but the way it was done felt more natural as followers and fans came across it in realtime throughout the day and the buzz that was built was more impactful due to that. Surprise is a powerful weapon on social media as anywhere else!
The image at the top of the page is from the other bit of Jay-Z geekiness I came across this week – the wonderful 99 Problems Tumblr.
[BTW I’m not sure about the actual album. It is growing on me a bit but I think that it lacks any real standout tracks and the delivery is a bit samey and stilted though it has some sharp lyrics and productions. Not one of the greats though.]