Due to the #newrules of the whole mega-corporate ultra-synergistic way that Jay-Z is releasing and distributing his new album Magna Carta Holy Grail, it’s no surprise that things have gotten a little confusing.
Well before July 4th, when the album was supposed to become available to one million users of Samsung Galaxy phones through an Android app and no one else, hacked versions of the app started appearing on various third party sites where one can find such things. These versions of the app appeared to work exactly as the official Samsung version was supposed to, except that on July 4th the wallpaper background changed from the official (boring) artwork for MCHG to a political message attacking the NSA/the Obama administration’s surveillance programs.
The image is especially apt as along with the government’s surveillance programs, HOVA and Samsung’s privacy policies are raising hackles as well. The official, Samsung-approved version of the app requests that the user allow the app to “ ”modify or delete contents of your USB storage,” “prevent phone from sleeping” in order to retrieve running apps, access “approximate network location” as well as “precise GPS location,” full network communication access and “read phone status and identity,” among other things. The awesome and politically radical rapper Killer Mike tweeted a screen shot of these extensive permission requests along with the message “I read this and……..”Naw I’m cool”.
After the album being out there for awhile in various digital black market forms Jay-Z/Roc-a-Fella/Universal Records decided to just put the thing up on Spotify earlier today so it could be streamed legally and they could get a zillionth of a penny (or whatever) for each stream, leading to a lot of blog posts like this one and this one saying the album was now streaming in full on Spotify. Bizarrely, for whatever reason since then the album has been taken down from Spotify, and every other legal streaming music service. If you search for the title on Spotify it still shows up but everything is grayed out and can’t be played, at least in the US.
The Justin Timberlake-featuring/”Smells Like Teen Spirit” quoting lead single “Holy Grail” is available on an official, Jay-Z approved stream though. Stay tuned to see exactly what state of legal/illegal release or non-release this crazy adventure in corporate branding and #newrule making is in tomorrow.