Beyoncé Surprises The World With Digital-First Self-Titled Album

There might be yet another entertainment industry paradigm shift afoot, and Beyoncé is going to be there. Just as Kickstarter paved the way for games and even films to be made sans traditional publishers, Beyoncé has just made something almost impossible, or at least unforeseeable, happen. She has just released a complete album, in digital format first, without the usual pre-release marketing stunts, and, more surprisingly, without anyone even hearing about it until it launched.

Almost everything about this album, also named BEYONCÉ, is quite interesting. First of all the album is a visual album, combining both audio and video content. Instead of going for simply for singles with music videos, each of the 14 songs are accompanied by visual stunning, and occasionally very explicit, videos.

But more than just the content, it is probably the production that will pique many's interest. Beyoncé eschewed the usual marketing gimmicks, campaigns, teasers, and the accompanying leakage associated with the usual production system. Instead, she opted for an almost indie process, releasing when she felt she was ready and addressing her fans directly without the middle man. A preview of the first song in the album, "Pretty Hurts", can be viewed below.

There's so much that gets between the music, the artist and the fans. I 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."

Keeping something that big under wraps, with some videos shot in open places and with a team that includes the likes of Jay Z, Justin Timberlake, Pharrell Williams, Drake, and many more, can be considered truly an accomplishment. The video below is a 30-second preview of "Drunk in Love" featuring Jay Z.

It is also almost unheard of that a mainstream artist would first release an album digitally, but here again she tries to be different. Beyoncé has embraced the digital world to deliver what she considers to be a more innovative and immersive experience for her fans, contrary to what most suits in the music industry are wont to do.

BEYONCÉ is now available on iTunes and can only bought as a full album for $15.99, which includes all 14 songs and 17 videos, plus a digital booklet. Fans looking for a physical copy won't have to worry as the double disc CD/DVD albums will be ready for the holidays.