Beyonce bucked industry standards with her surprise album drop last year, but could she have also blazed a new trail for other artists?
Bey (and her label, Columbia) challenged the traditional album rollout last December by releasing a full visual album on iTunes without warning, selling 991,000 copies in its first 10 days of release. And while many speculated that the superstar could pull an encore (a rep for Beyonce told Billboard that a previously "leaked" track list was "completely made up"), we have to wonder whether any star could actually pull off the art of the surprise drop in today's post-Beyonce world.
Azalea Banks, for one, released her long-delayed debut album, Broke With Expensive Taste, on Thursday -- but it was hardly met with a Beyonce level of fanfare. If an A-lister were to follow suit this year, it would probably be one of these five artists.
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She's releasing a platinum edition box set of her last album on Nov. 24, featuring two new songs and a handful of remixes, but could this be a ploy to distract us from a September report that she and hubby Jay Z were working on a collaborative album? It's not entirely far-fetched.
Jay's joint album with Kanye West, 2011's Watch the Throne, was a huge success, while Jay and Bey mixed business with pleasure this summer with their On the Run tour. According to Billboard, the global trek topped $100 million in ticket sales, making the idea of a full collab album a lucrative one.
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Rumors have been flying that Rihanna could be prepping to drop a surprise album with a leaked -- and possibly fake -- track list finding its way on the Internet just days before @badgalriri made her triumphant return to Instagram. (Hallelujah!) According to the leaked – and again, possibly fake – document, the album would be titled The Lost Files and be released on Nov. 25.
The new mom, who has kept a low profile over the last few years, posted this cryptic tweet on her birthday in May.
Adele fans know that the UK songstress names her albums after her age, so could 25 be the follow-up to 2011's 21? Adele's label recently dashed our hopes for new material, stating in an official filing that Adele would not be releasing new material in 2014 – but that's not to say we couldn’t see something early next year.
Not to mention the Beyonce factor: Adele, who is rarely spotted by paparazzi, was seen enjoying a double date with Queen Bey recently in London. Could the duo be working on something together?
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Around this time last year, Kanye West told Power 99 that he was aiming to have a new album out by summer 2014. So far, no word on a new album, but the idea of a surprise drop on iTunes would likely to appeal to Yeezy. His 2013 album Yeezus may have debuted at No. 1 on the charts, but it marked Kanye's lowest-selling debut week of his career. Why? Industry insiders had initially predicted that the highly-anticipated album would move 500,000 copies in its first week, but an early leak likely contributed to significantly diminished figures (327,000 copies sold). So how does one avoid the dreaded album leak? Bypassing the physical CD production and going straight to the web is certainly an option.
Justin may have been busy with legal drama over the last year, but he still found time to get in the studio. The Biebs shared snippets of 11 new songs on Instagram back in July and by our count, he's due for a new release anytime now. His last album Believe hit shelves in June of 2012. Plus, with his technically-savvy young fandom, skipping the physical CD release (at least at first) isn’t likely to hurt sales too much. In fact, he tested that method out earlier this year with his digital-first Music Monday series of single releases.
Who would you like to see pull a Beyonce this year?
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