Beyonce’s Surprise Album Tops Apple ITunes Charts

Beyonce Knowles’s surprise new album, a collection of 14 songs and 17 music videos, is leading sales worldwide on Apple Inc.’s iTunes within hours of becoming available, even without advance publicity.

“Beyonce,” which went on sale for $15.99 at midnight in New York exclusively on iTunes, is Apple’s top seller in the 10 biggest music markets including the U.S., Japan and U.K., Tom Neumayr, a spokesman for the Cupertino, California-based company, said in an e-mail.

The unexpected release triggered intense fan interest on social media, while freeing Beyonce from typical record-label marketing tactics such as interviews and advance radio play. The strategy also allows the album to go on sale before tracks can be leaked on file-sharing sites, according to a statement today from Sony Corp.’s Columbia Records, which distributes Beyonce’s music, and the singer’s Parkwood Entertainment.

“I didn’t want to release my music the way I’ve done it,” Beyonce said in the statement. “I am bored with that. I feel like I am able to speak directly to my fans. 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.”

Tracks and videos are only available by purchasing the entire album, which Beyonce said in the statement is meant to be an audio-visual experience. Individual tracks will become available on Dec. 20, according to the Los Angeles Times.

A CD-DVD package will be available at retail stores in time for the holiday season, according to the statement.

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