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Jay Z Adapts and Prevails
By: Greg Dorn
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Once upon a time, album promotions consisted of eye-popping music videos and radio-friendly singles. If an artist was hot, that’s all it took for a CD to go platinum in a week’s time. My, how the times have changed. For the last 10 years, music sales have diminished significantly. While that conversation has been done to death, artists still seek new and innovative ways to build hype and sell their music. Touring and merchandise may keep their wallets fat and their chains hanging low, but some people want more than money. Some people aspire to revolutionize the industry. Anything short of that denotes failure. Enter Jay Z, a man who built his career selling a rags-to-riches story for the public to devour. He knew how to sell, how to promote, and how to change. No wonder he remains one of the most successful artists in the history of music. At 43 years old, HOVA still knows that to stay on top, you must adapt or die.
 
The announcement came out of nowhere. During game five of the NBA finals, a peculiar commercial appeared on the screen. We saw Jay talking with high-profile producers Rick Rubin, Swizz Beats, Timbaland, and Pharrell Williams. An album served as the topic of discussion. But save for a song released months prior to honor Blue Ivy Carter (“Open Letter”), no singles had surfaced; an unprecedented move for an album release. How could Jay Z, considered the greatest living rapper, drop his first solo effort since 2009 without anyone knowing?
 
The man obviously knew he couldn’t do the same old song and dance. He’d already sold millions of records, amassed a ridiculous fortune, solidified himself as hip-hop royalty, and put a ring on the hottest chick in the game. He needed something fresh: the element of surprise. Without warning, Jay didn’t just drop an album, he dropped a bomb. The savvy businessman and former CEO of Def Jam then upped the ante and teamed up with perhaps the greatest invention of the 21st century: the smartphone. One million lucky owners of Samsung’s Galaxy SIII, S4, and Note II would receive a free download from a dedicated app. Before it even went on sale, the album had already gone platinum. Well, not technically, since the RIAA wouldn’t recognize those numbers. But the stunt paid off — Magna Carta… Holy Grail sold 528,000 copies when released to the public and gave Jay Z his 13th consecutive number one. All hail J-HOVA, a man who not only knows how to play the game, but also how to stay in it. 


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About the Author
Greg Dorn is a blogger, writer, and obsessed with everything technology and social media. Greg is absolutely captivated with the recent advancements in mobile gadgets, making our world more seamlessly connected. You can learn more about him on his own blog here
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