Since Samsung’s billion dollar loss to Apple after their highly publicized lawsuit and counter-suits over design patents, Samsung has been on an all out war against the late Steve Jobs’ tech monster. I have been watching their Apple thwarting efforts in the recent months and weeks since then and I must say Samsung is definitely proving itself to be a rightful contender. They’ve had numerous television ads bashing the iPhone and countless promoted tweets on Twitter to get people energized about their crown gems, The Galaxy series. But, their biggest and possibly most notable move to date has been their purchase of one million copies of Jay-Z’s latest album titled, Magna Carta Holy Grail. For those who don’t know, it came as quite a surprise that the Jigga Man (Jay-Z) would release a new album this year, let alone on such a historic day as the fourth of July. One thing is for sure, the marketing machine behind Samsung is well oiled and gearing up for greatness. Their ad which debuted during the NBA Finals features super-producers Pharrell Williams, Rick Rubin, Swizz Beats and Timbaland crafting beats and drafting plans for the album with Sean Carter himself. As an enthusiast of marketing and advertising strategy and a lover of hip-hop music, I found the symbiotic relationship between the Hip-Hop Mogul and the electronics Goliath very groundbreaking and alluring. Not simply by the level of skill and talent being displayed in the commercial, but the ingenious plan of allowing one million Galaxy owners to stream the album for free 72 hours before its official release date. Whoever came up with this marketing idea has definitely honed in on pop-culture and buying triggers.

Since the debut of the commercial I have already seen tweets about people purchasing Samsung Galaxy phones just to get the listening exclusive of the album. And at a hefty $5 million price tag, Samsung is definitely monetarily dedicated to moving units of its own and garnering more buzz around its brand. My only question is not if the purchase will be lucrative. Samsung can afford to dish out or lose a few million for the right to exclusivity. My question is whether the pre-sale of one million copies of Magna Carta Holy Grail will be included in the Nielson Soundscan numbers? I only ask this because this is the first of its kind. I don’t see why they wouldn’t include the Samsung purchase numbers. Granted, Samsung didn’t purchase hard copies. But, in the digital world it can’t be too hard to count digital copies for phones. Right? And, with that said, if the one million copies ARE included in the Soundscan numbers, that would grant Magna Carta Holy Grail platinum status at an unprecedented two and a half weeks before its debut and before anyone has even heard the project or seen the track listing. Well, the new slogan from the commercial IS “…write the new rules.” And it seems the two are having no problems doing it.

Sidenote: With the $5 million price tag, I can’t help but allude to the fact that Jay-Z lost a bet and had to pay $5 million to get out of his contract with Def Jam almost five years ago. That distinct number resounds in my mind. Coincidence? Or a subliminal shot at Def Jam? You decide! Check out the commercial below and let me know your thoughts on the new album or the strategic efforts of Samsung.


  1. […] it was even available for purchase by mass consumers. Jay-Z said it best in the Samsung commercial, “We need to write the new rules.” And that is exactly what the RIAA has done. Score one point for Jay-z, zero points for Nielsen. […]


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