On Wednesday (July 10), Hov appeared on New York’s Power 105 The Breakfast Club radio show and expressed his disappointment in the functionality of the Samsung phone app that was supposed to deliver his new album to one million fans as soon as the clock struck midnight on Independence Day.
“I can’t even imagine waiting for Rakim‘s album at 12 o’clock and I couldn’t get it and I downloaded — I did everything right,” Jay-Z said, using the 1980s rap icon to put himself in his fans’ shoes. “On the 24th I downloaded my app, I set it, I watched the clock count down and at 12 ‘clock I couldn’t get it. For me that’s not cool.”
Hov announced Magna Carta and then pushed it out in a little more than two weeks, all the while shouting his “new rules” battle cry. The plan was for fans to download the MCHG app, get access to some pretty nifty pre-album content and then on July 4 all be able to experience a communal moment by downloading the album at the same time, but it didn’t work out that way.
“Anytime you do something different — and you should always try to push forward in whatever you’re doing — it’s going to be a problem,” Jay explained. “The thing that happened with Samsung is a real thing; it was 20 million hits to the app. I’m not saying 20 million people hit the app, but we went over a million.”
According to the rapper’s math — a strong suit for the multimillionaire mogul — more than a million people tried to access the app at the same time, and when the album didn’t begin to download, the million-plus fans hit it again and again and again, until the program buckled under pressure.
“It’s not even a number that you can fathom; it’s 20 times the amount we thought was going to happen. So you can’t even prepare service for that, it’s very difficult.”
Breakfast Club host Angela Yee suggested to Hov that maybe the Samsung ordeal was a good problem; after all, it speaks largely to the rapper’s popularity. Jay however, didn’t see it that way. “It’s not a great problem because you want the fan to get that experience. The people that waited and downloaded it you want them to have that experience right away. That was the thing that was disheartening to me.”
Despite the technical issues, Jay-Z still seems to have faith in the revolutionary distribution method and hopes that artists will continue to push the envelope. “That’s a loss. That has to get better,” he urged. “The next person now knows how to go into it better, which is cool and that’s my job. I took the hit for that.”