Critics have been quick to deem the branding deal that went down between Hov and Samsung a major flop.
To recap - the current king of the music industry (so powerful that they’ll stop the time-to-shut-up-now soundtrack during the Grammy awards for him) negotiated a multi-million-dollar deal with Samsung to pre-release a million copies of his latest opus Magna Carta Holy Grail through a Samsung-developed android app. But glitches in the technology, Snowden-esque privacy concerns, file leaks and more, have led to an onslaught of articles dismissing the marketing stunt as a failure. But was it really?
If the aim of this deal was to combine forces in order to raise awareness around not only the album drop, but also Samsung’s product, the aim has been achieved. Just google "samsung galaxy Jay-Z" and you’ll find more relevant search results than you can count. Every major news outlet has covered this story from more angles than one, and Samsung could report that despite the difficulties in downloading the app, almost all the allotted downloads had taken place by Monday.
What is more, Samsung is seeing a lot of activity on the social side, with their number of new Twitter followers up 21% in the last week and also a slight bump in Facebook page likes at 9%. In the past month, the official YouTube channel of Samsung Mobile USA has attracted north of 51 million video views, a 324% increase from the month before, and more than a third of their total number of views - all thanks to a series of Samsung + Jay-Z promo videos around the process behind creating MCHG.
In other notable album release marketing moves, Hov also created quite the rumble on Monday, one day before the album’s official release to the rest of us non-Galaxy-owning plebs, with a rare spurt of Twitter activity around a Q&A. Retweeting and commenting on the questions of followers, Mr. Carter saw his following increase by more than 70,000, 300,000+ mentions, and his retweets are up more than 9000% percent from last week.
Whether or not it all went precisely according to plan, in the struggle for the Galaxy to compete with the cultural cachet of the iPhone, Samsung has certainly managed to bring their product to the headlines, successfully crafted their association with one of the biggest and most influential names in the music industry, and are seeing a rise in their stock market value.
And despite copies of MCHG leaking across the internet over the weekend, according to Billboard, first week album sales are predicted to be as high as half a million. So both Jay-Z and Samsung can pat themselves on the back for making waves with innovative attempts at marketing music, and doing good branding business.
Liv Buli is the resident data journalist for music analytics company Next Big Sound. Buli is a graduate of New York University’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute and her work has appeared in Newsweek Daily Beast, The New York Times Local East Village, Hypebot and more.