GroundFloor Media & CenterTable Blog

There are brands that get social media, and then there are brands that GET social media – and Jay-Z is in that unique (and very small) latter group.

The artist just announced a partnership with Samsung in which he will give his new album, “Magna Carta Holy Grail,” to 1 million users of Samsung Galaxy smartphones on July 4, three days before the album’s official release date. And by the way, this will all be on Samsung’s dime. Reports state that Samsung paid $5 for each album – or $5 million for this exclusive offer to just its Galaxy customers. The album will appear on these users’ phones through a special “Magna Carta Holy Grail” app.

As Jay-Z once rapped, “I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man” – and this is a perfect example of his savvy. Here are three things we can all learn from Jay-Z when it comes to online brand launches and knowing how to play the social game:

Early and Exclusive Access: You can find anything on the Internet – it’s an open platform that typically doesn’t discriminate. To cut through the noise, a brand has to be willing to provide exclusive and early access to meaningful content to a strategic group of people to make even a small ripple of noise. With the Samsung/Jay-Z example, getting free access to a full album three days before the general public didn’t just start a ripple – it created an Internet tsunami.

Letting Go of Control: These days, if you try to control your content online, you will be overly stressed and greatly disappointed. Letting go of control and allowing your content to spread across channels that are not your own is how you gain fans, respect and shares. Learn from Jay-Z who took a huge risk by launching his album on a smartphone (and not on the venerated iPhone, by the way) and not on his home turf. The risk reaped great rewards.

Cross Channel Integration: Among many other reasons why the Jay-Z deal is genius, he walks away with a multi-tiered public message that hits consumers online, on TV, in print and on their phones. His album’s app will be created just for this release, and the unique way its being launched is news in itself. Most likely, if you didn’t know about the Jay-Z and Samsung partnership this morning, you will by the end of day today. Just remember – there’s always a story behind the story – and you have to tell both versions.

So regardless of if you’re a fan of Jay-Z, like rap music, or could care less about popular culture and the rise of mobile phone endorsements, this is one business partnership you can’t ignore.

Now whose got a Galaxy we can borrow on July 4th?

Lauren Cook is a Senior Director of Social Media and Digital Strategy at GroundFloor Media, and considers herself more of an East Coast rap fan than a West Coast rap fan (R.I.P. Biggie Smalls).

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