Are you the proud owner of a Samsung Galaxy S III, Galaxy S4 or Galaxy Note II? Did you try to take up Samsung’s offer to download the new Jay-Z Magna Carta Holy Grail album, unsuccessfully? You’re not alone.
Samsung’s promotion – allowing up to 1 million fans to download Jay-Z’s latest beats – seemed to fall flat soon after launch, with many users reporting server issues and instability from the app, either force-closing or outright crashing.
For those who ran the risk of missing out though, and waited until the next day to attempt downloading the album, the issues seemed to abate and downloads went smoothly.
The release raises some interesting questions regarding the distribution method chosen by Jay-Z for this album. While the giveaway started at midnight in America, it was approximately 2pm AEST in Australia, which meant that anyone remotely near their phone could simply reach over and download the album, without the need to stay up late. It was thought that this may have given fans in similar timezones an advantage in acquiring their music, but Aussies seemed to suffer just as many issues as our international brethren.
Geoff Quattromani of NotAnalog.com tweeted that he’d experienced these issues, and when we asked him about his experience he reiterated his disappointment that the album was available to illegally before he could download it legally through the app.
Geoff’s “Cup of Tech” video, in which he discusses his experience, is below:
It seems that Samsung’s promotion may have been a victim of its own popularity, and Samsung may have underestimated the amount of traffic it would generate.
As mentioned, just as the album started to make its way out via Samsung’s Magna Carta Holy Grail app, the album was leaked to torrent sites where an estimated 200,000+ copies were downloaded on the same day.
Did Samsung’s server issues cause people to look for other methods of ‘acquiring’ the pre-release album?
The high profile rapper spoke with Power 105 (a breakfast radio show over in the States), stating that while the response to the release of the album is overwhelming, to have these issues is “not cool”, particularly for the fans and the users of the app because “you want fans to get the right experience”.
The Power 105 interview was notably candid, with Jay-Z admitting that Magna Carta Holy Grail isn’t his best work, at which point the DJ’s did a very good job at rubbing his ego.
Jay-Z offered a somewhat philosophical perspective to close, stating that “the next time someone does this, they know how to go into it better”. He’s likely looking at it as a learning experience, not only for him but for music distribution channels worldwide.
Platinum before release
Despite these issues, Jay-Z gets the last laugh – his album was guaranteed platinum status prior to it even being released for sale. The reason? Samsung actually purchased 1,000,000 copies of the album to distribute through their app.
As a consequence of this, there has been some debate stateside as to the requirements for an album to become a “Platinum” album. Previously, the album needed to be available for more than 30 days (along with some other criteria) but the decision was eventually taken to allow the purchases to count towards the album’s “Platinum” status.
Was this all worth it for an album that is now selling for $16 in most online music stores?
Did you download Magna Carta Holy Grail via Samsung’s App or did you purchase it from an online store? Tell us your experiences in the comments.