Ever since the announcement of his game-changing arrangement with Samsung Electronics, most of the conversation about Jay-Z's forthcoming studio album, Magna Carta Holy Grail has revolved around the nature of the deal, not the coming music. Even as the project (out officially tomorrow) is being rolled out via in-studio video clips and scavenger hunts and lyric sheets, the focus remains on the logistics of the album, its delivery and its meaning for the music business.
It's no wonder. Almost immediately, the Wall Street Journal reported that Samsung paid $5 a piece for one million copies of the album, to be given away free to owners of select Samsung devices. Granted, Samsung, which is worth over $200 billion (with a net cash position of $28.5 billion), essentially has enough money to buy the entire Vatican a couple of times over, so $5 million to them is probably like thirty bucks to the rest of us. Yet how many of us would pay thirty bucks for a Jay-Z album in 2013?
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