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Beyonce releases new iTunes-exclusive album

  • In this Feb. 3, 2013 file photo, Beyonce performs during the halftime show of the NFL Super Bowl XLVII football game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens, in New Orleans. Beyonce released her fifth self-titled album exclusively on iTunes early Friday, Dec. 13, 2013. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File)

NEW YORK — Beyonce has released her new album in an unconventional way: She announced and dropped it on the same day.

The singer released "Beyonce" exclusively on iTunes early Friday. She mirrors how Jay Z released "Magna Carta Holy Grail" earlier this year — through a deal with Samsung where he gave the album to 1 million users of Galaxy mobile phones days before its official release.

Beyonce's fifth effort features 14 songs and 17 videos. Jay Z, Drake and Frank Ocean make guest appearances on the album, while the closing track, "Blue," features her daughter Blue Ivy. Justin Timberlake co-wrote the songs "Rocket" and "Partition," and Pharrell, Timbaland, Ryan Tedder, Miguel and Sia also co-wrote tracks.

The album caused a stir on social media websites, with fans posting about the release early Friday morning. Twitter said early data shows mentions of Beyonce spiked by 500,000-plus tweets after she announced the album. Diddy, Alicia Keys and Demi Lovato were among the celebrities tweeting about the topic.

Beyonce calls the work a "visual album" and she filmed some of the videos in Paris, New York, Sydney, Rio de Janeiro and Houston, her hometown.

"I didn't want to release my music the way I've done it," she said in a 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."

Beyonce's last album was "4," released in 2011. It reached platinum success. "Beyonce" will be available in stores "in time for the holidays," her representative said.

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Follow Mesfin Fekadu at http://twitter.com/MusicMesfin

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