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“Bored” With Traditional Releases, Beyoncé Puts Out A New Album In Secret

With a strategic and secretive overnight launch of her new “visual album,” Beyoncé gives the music industry a nudge toward change.

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Surprise! In the early hours of Friday morning, Beyoncé unexpectedly released a new self-titled album full of 14 songs and 17 music videos. The “visual album,” currently exclusive to iTunes, temporarily shut down the service as people rushed to download it.

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In a statement, Beyoncé said she is “bored” with the usual album release system, and that she “felt like I didn’t want anybody to give the message when my record is coming out. I just want this to come out when it’s ready and from me to my fans.” Releasing this much content to a digital marketplace at once seems to tap into the same “as much as you can eat” mentality that Netflix has exhibited with the House of Cards TV show.

The singer has previously been subject to leaks of her music and video tracks, which could explain the surprise launch. But the fact that a major international star chose to do this suggests that the music industry, now ripe for disruption, is changing. Here’s one of the videos she released along with the album:

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I'm covering the science/tech/generally-exciting-and-innovative beat for Fast Company. Follow me on Twitter, or Google+ and you'll hear tons of interesting stuff, I promise. I've also got a PhD, and worked in such roles as professional scientist and theater technician...thankfully avoiding jobs like bodyguard and chicken shed-cleaner (bonus points if you get that reference!)

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