Beyoncé’s surprise iTunes-only album sold almost 830,000 copies since its release on Friday, Apple has confirmed, with the unexpected eponymous record topping download store charts in 104 countries. Demand was strongest in the US, Apple told The Guardian, with 617,213 of the 828,773 copies sold there. Meanwhile, streaming services are expected to get access to the album imminently.
Although not finally confirmed, Spotify and other streaming companies should have Beyoncé on their books either this week or next week. That will be timed alongside the physical CD version of the album on December 21st.
The iTunes-exclusive was a surprise for a number of reasons, not least the degree of secrecy around its release. Given multiple codenames – most recently “Lily” according to Billboard – and with work on the final vocals and production still ongoing into late November, the album’s existence was kept almost as secret within Apple as a new iPhone might be.
Only “the most senior executives” on the Apple iTunes team were aware of the launch plans or, indeed, of the fact that the record exists, according to the report.
The other surprise was the extent of the content given the clandestine nature it had been produced in. Along with fourteen new tracks, complete with guest artists including Jay Z, Frank Ocean, and Drake, the singer recorded seventeen companion music videos intended to accompany them.
That “visual album” was, Beyoncé said in a statement, a way of speaking directly to fans, rather than allowing anything else in the industry to get in-between.
A direct connection seems to have done the worked, too. The singer has been forced to add new tour dates as a result of a surge in demand.