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5 Artists That Redefined What an ‘Album’ Means

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Just before Christmas a few weeks ago, Run the Jewels (for the third time in their career) surprise-dropped an album for free online, a method that has seen them skyrocket to great success. John Mayer recently announced that his next album will be released in phases throughout 2017, with four songs coming out each month. Clearly we are living in times where the traditional album release can be anything but traditional. Check out some of the most game-changing ways artists have given fans their music, and be sure to get the Trebel app where you can downloads these albums for free:

1) Radiohead Do Away with Price Tags on In Rainbows (2007)

Though the “pay-what-you-want” model has become a go-to for labels and artists in the last decade, Radiohead’s dismissal of the traditional fixed price-tag was nothing short of revolutionary when they allowed fans to name their price for their seventh full-length album. Despite its unconventional methods, the record was a huge success, selling more than three million copies worldwide and winning two Grammy awards.

2) U2 Magically Shows Up On Your iPhone with Songs of Innocence (2014) 


Perhaps recognizing that it was getting harder and harder to get fans to make their way out to the record store, U2 brought their 2014 record Songs of Innocence directly to fans and non-fans alike, thanks to a partnership with Apple that automatically populated the albums onto all of the iPhones across the globe. Although more than 81 million iTunes users listened to the album within the first month of its release, this strategy drew plenty of criticism from those who felt that the method was invasive and far from “innocent.”
3) Jay Z Mobilizes His Fans with Magna Carta Holy Grail (2013)

Jay wasn’t kidding when he insisted that he was a business, man. By allowing his 12th album Magna Carta Holy Grail to be downloaded for free via a special app for Samsung customers, the self-proclaimed Greatest Rapper Alive went platinum on the day the project was made available to the public.
4) Kanye West Feeds His Fans on GOOD Friday (2010) 

The anticipation surrounding Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted album couldn’t have been any higher by the middle of 2010. With a surplus of recorded songs in the stash, Ye began treating fans to a new song each Friday, starting three months before the album eventually dropped. While some of the songs in this unique rollout would later land on the album (“Monster,” “So Appalled”), other collaborations with a revolving roster of talent including Mos Def, Pete Rock, Talib Kweli, Kid Cudi, and Pusha T would remain GOOD Friday exclusives.
5) Beck Takes It Back – Like, Way WAY Back – with Song Reader (2012) 

As a guy who likes to push the envelope with his sound, Beck outdid himself in 2012 with Song Reader by releasing an album that you couldn’t hear on its own. Opting to publish a book of 20 new original songs in the form of sheet music, the project was a throwback to the early 20th century’s version of the album, allowing (and in fact encouraging) fans and musicians to learn and interpret the songs on their own to share with the rest of the world. He would later take that concept (albeit with a more star-studded line-up) to the traditional format of the album with an audible version that featured Jack White, Norah Jones, Fun., and more.

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